Gout is a complex form of arthritis, and although it’s shrouded in mystery and often overlooked by those who don’t suffer it, it can be excruciating and debilitating to those who do. It is caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood, which is the product of the breakdown of waste substances that usually dissolve in the blood and get processed by the kidneys. For people that suffer gout attacks, their kidneys don’t get rid of the uric acid fast enough and it crystallizes and collects in the joint. Symptoms include sudden pain, tenderness, heat, and redness in joints. In many cases it is at the base of the big toe, and the pain can be so unbearable that even a feather light touch will be too much to bear. Gout is chronic, and there are a good number of people out there who don’t want to be on aspirin for the rest of their lives. By making a blend of these ingredients and tapping into their natural healing properties, you can help relieve/prevent your symptoms, similar to how a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory would.

Ingredients: Pineapple, turmeric, ginger root, tart cherry juice.

Why pineapple: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has been shown to be useful in reducing inflammation. The theory behind why it works lies in that it affects prostaglandin synthesis (basically, it interferes with the hormones that send the signal that something should swell up.) Bromelain is also an enzyme that digests proteins (hence why pineapple is so popular for tenderizing meat) and gout has been linked to diets high in protein, which can cause an excess of uric acid to build up in the blood.

Why Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, which has seen great success with pain relief lately. Curcumin blocks the production of the protein that tells blood vessels to enlarge.

Why ginger root: Ginger root contains gingerols, an active component that is related to capsaicin. Gingerols are structured much like capsaicin on a molecular level, which means it may help inhibit the signals sent to your brain that trigger pain. They also lessen the enzymes causing inflammation.

Why tart cherry juice (optional): Cherries have been linked to lowering levels of uric acid in studies, and although the studies were not specifically done on gout, it is very possible that it would help prevent an attack if consumed regularly.

You will need…
-1 pineapple
-1-2 teaspoons of powdered turmeric
-2-3 teaspoons of powdered ginger, or 1 inch off of a fresh ginger root
-1 cup of tart cherry juice
-Honey (optional)
-Blender, food processor, or lots of elbow grease
-A glass container with a tightly fitting lid
-A strainer

Directions
Cut the skin and stem off of the pineapple. You can either chop up and use the stem and strain the drink, or you can opt not to use it. The reason why you might include it is because the stem has a high concentration of bromein, but using just the fruit is ok too. Slice the pineapple into chunks that are roughly the same size and toss them in your food processor or blender. Whirl them around until they are pretty evenly mashed up, pour in 1 cup of tart cherry juice, and then sprinkle in 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric and 2-3 teaspoons of ginger. Store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to a week and a half. You can add honey to taste if you’d like, and also choose to use the greater or lesser amount of turmeric and ginger depending on how you like it.

Notes: Like nettle tea, if you can have some of this daily, go for it. It might help prevent a gout attack in the first place. Otherwise, you can grab a glass as needed for the pain when it flares up. The drink will keep up to a month in the refrigerator. If you make it on a regular basis, just make one big batch and then do a new one at the end of the month. If it is not practical or possible for you to get a pineapple, there are bromein supplements out there. Do not get any sort of canned or preserved pineapple as the enzymes will have been killed off by heat used in the process of making the product.

As our diets change (not exactly for the better) and more people experience high blood pressure, instances of gout are becoming more and more frequent. Finding out what foods might trigger you will be hugely beneficial, as well as following a “gout” diet. Remember that just because something is natural doesn’t guarantee its safe-if you are on medication or if you don’t know how these ingredients might affect you, always check with a medical professional before using.

Gout Tip: If you’re not in the mood to have a drink, turmeric, ginger, and bromein all come in supplemental form for preventative measures. Again, make sure they are safe for you to take!

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March 16, 2017