Eating cherries helps prevent gout

By Sheryl Kay • Published: January 8th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The sharp pain brought on by gout has been compared to being stabbed by a hot knife. Almost 4 percent of the American population has, at one time, suffered from such an attack, often concentrated in the big toe.

Given the connection between the illness and the consumption of fructose, and the fact that obesity is on the rise in America, doctors have predicted a sharp uptick in cases of gout. While there are medicines that have been partially effective in stemming the debilitating attacks, new research has shown dramatic gout-reducing results in patients who have consumed, of all things, cherries.

Previous studies showed a possible correlation between the small red fruit and the reduction of gout attacks, but none as profound as the recent one just published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Researchers recruited 633 gout sufferers over the age of eighteen. All had faced an attack at least once in the past 12 months. These individuals were then monitored for one year, each one filling out a comprehensive questionnaire to be taken just after an attack. Those surveys posed questions about medication, symptoms, and the diet of the participant.

Analysis showed that individuals suffered about two attacks each during the year they were monitored. Then the researchers compared those who did and those who did not eat cherries. They found a 35 percent decrease in the risk of having a gout attack among those eating cherries, compared with those who did not consume the fruit. Interestingly, consuming cherry extract resulted in a 45 percent reduction in risk. Eating both fresh cherries and extract was tied to a 37 percent lower risk.

Despite the evidence, researchers caution against making sweeping conclusions, and encourage gout sufferers to consult a doctor. After all, gout isn’t a bowl of cherries.