The first in a new series of blog posts focusing on improving health and wellbeing naturally, with foods, movement, meditation, natural herbs and daily practices to help you feel your best! Be sure to consult a trusted health-care provider before implementing changes. Wellbeing consultations and health-coaching sessions available to book with me now, more details HERE.
Email email@example.com to book.
For hundreds of years, gout was associated only with the upper class, who had access to rich foods, meats, sugar, and frequently enjoyed feasting. Today, gout most commonly impacts men over the age of 40, but I’m seeing more and more young people suffering with it too. Unfortunately, the same goes for issues like diabetes, obesity and heart disease; these illnesses previously only occurred later in life, but children brought up with a poor diet high in sugar, little exercise and mounting stress are experiencing diseases earlier than ever.
Gout is an inflammatory joint disease, caused by having too much uric acid in the blood, tissues and urine. Uric acid itself isn’t inherently harmful at all – it’s actually a powerful antioxidant – but in excess it causes damage. Uric acid builds up as a result of excessive chemicals known as ‘purines’ found in specific foods. Most people are able to digest purines with no problem, but people who suffer from gout don’t naturally produce enough of the digestive enzyme uricase, causing crystal-like structures to form in joints like the big toe, ankles, knees, and even the fingers. Gout typically causes redness, pain and swelling, making the joint painful to move (although movement is actually very beneficial to help reduce pain and inflammation in the joint). If gout ‘attacks’ repeatedly continue, this can damage the underlying joint.
If you’re experiencing joint pain, it’s important to investigate thoroughly, as gout is not commonly tested for in blood tests. This has meant many people suffering with gout have wrongly been referred for operations and joint replacements, including those who have been diagnosed with a broken bone and put in a plaster cast for six weeks! These treatments entirely unnecessary and don’t help the root issue.
What causes gout?
- A diet high in ‘purines’ (listed below)
- Excessive protein
- Excessive alcohol
- Genetics (although this is not the cause of gout – lifestyle factors are the trigger.)
- Poor kidney function
Joints that have previously been injured are more susceptible to gout.
Whilst the mainstream allopathic treatment for gout is often N-SAIDs like Ibuprofen or Advil, or prescription medications, gout is actually a condition that can very successfully be treated naturally. Whilst pills and prescriptions can be very helpful, the problem lies in the fact that they often merely mask symptoms without addressing the root cause, meaning the problem will never truly go away unless it is treated naturally.
Diet, herbs, supplements and simple lifestyle practices naturally and effectively help gout, so try the following:
- Eliminate high-purine foods: beef, shellfish, organ meats, anchovies, mackerel, asparagus, gravies and broths, peanuts, yeast, sardines, sugar, beans and pulses, spinach. Some people find that strawberries, tomatoes and oranges trigger gout too.
- Cut down on alcohol
- Reduce refined sugar and processed foods
- Limit dairy and eggs (which can be inflammatory)
- Opt for a whole-foods, plant-based diet, favouring the following foods:
- Omega 3s from nuts, seeds and healthy oils like coconut and olive oil
- Consume plenty of folate from broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale
- Ginger and turmeric are powerful anti-inflammatories
- Quercetin (found in red onions, red peppers and apples)
- Bromelian (an anti-inflammatory found in pineapple)
- Add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to warm water and drink each evening to reduce inflammation, help break up purine crystals and balance blood sugar.
- At least 2 litres of water per day
- Fresh vegetables, especially cucumber, celery, sweet potatoes and carrots, kelp and green vegetables
- Fresh fruits, especially cherries, blueberries, apples, bananas and pineapple
- Consume anti-inflammatory herbs like oregano, turmeric with black pepper, ginger, boswellia, chamomile and celery seed extract. Ground elder or ‘Bishop’s gout weed’ is also beneficial, and grows freely in the UK countryside in Spring.
- Ensure you’re getting plenty of good quality sleep, without excessive screen time or bright lights at night. The darkness and sleep hormone melatonin is one of the most potent antioxidants we’re exposed to, and a vital anti-inflammatory.
- Apply frankincense, coconut oil and wintergreen oil topically
- Get plenty of movement and exercise (swimming, walking, cycling and yoga are all great)
- Ensure you’re getting enough vitamin A, E, and B vitamins
- Practice reducing stress with guided relaxation, breathwork, meditation and time spent in nature
- Spend plenty of time in natural sunlight
- Beneficial supplements include: Magnesium, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and glucosamine if you have experienced multiple gout flare-ups which may have damaged the joint and cartilage.
Have an issue you want to address naturally? Get in touch!