With around 110,000 thousand Kiwis suffering from gout (a number expected to double each decade), New Zealand has earned the unfortunate title of the “gout capital of the world,” according to Associate Professor Dr Nicola Dalbeth of the University of Auckland.
In fact, gout is so prevalent in our country that it’s become the second most-common form of arthritis. Caused by sodium urate crystals forming in and around joints (particularly the big toe), gout produces symptoms like sudden, severe pain in the joint, swelling and redness. Men are three times more likely than women to suffer from gout and up to 15 per cent of Maori and Pasifika men have gout compared with fewer than five per cent of Pakeha men.
So, you may be wondering, where do cherries come in? Well, one of the best ways to manage gout attacks is to reduce the levels of uric acid in the blood and remove it from the body, and cherries were found to do just that by a 2014 study from Northumbria University.
In 2012, another study by the American College of Rheumatology tracked 600 gout sufferers for a period of over 12 months and found that those who took a cherry extract experienced a 35 per cent lower risk of gout attacks compared to those who took none, regardless of gender, weight, diet and use of anti-gout medications.
“Cherries are in season and a daily dose is a great addition to your diet along with turmeric and dairy such as milk and yoghurt,” says Jude Salisbury, managing director of Abeeco New Zealand, who produce a Kiwi-made High Potency Gout Care Formula, which contains cherry powder, turmeric and selenium to aid in maintaining healthy uric acid levels, fluid balance, digestion and overall joint health.
“We have a great number of customers telling us how this product has helped them and has really changed their lives. In a recent internal customer survey, 85 per cent experienced less severe gout attacks after using our Gout Care Formula after three months*.”
Thankfully, in addition to increasing your cherry intake, there are a number of gout-friendly food swaps you can make to ensure you don’t have to miss out on one of the best parts of the festive season – eating and drinking.
“Instead of purine-high turkey, bacon and organ meats, a better option may be lean beef, chicken or ham. Seafood is generally a no-go but the lower purine options of salmon, crab, crayfish, oysters and shrimp may be consumed in moderate amounts. Include lots of fruit and vegetables; evidence suggests that plant foods aren’t associated with increased risk of gout even if they have a high-purine content.
“Alcohol, especially beer, and sweet fizzy drinks are best avoided but sticking to wine is preferable if you are going to have a drink or two. Water with fresh lime or lemon juice is your best option as it can help reduce the risk of recurrent attacks whilst getting in all important vitamin C.”
*Based on 33 respondents that have taken or continue to take Abeeco Gout Care.
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