Gout is a condition caused by the build-up of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid deposits form in joints, often of the big toe, causing pain and swelling. The exact cause of gout is unknown, though genetics, gender, age, and certain medical conditions and medications may put you at greater risk for developing gout. Certain dietary factors have also been associated with increased risk of developing gout, such as a higher intake of meat and seafood and heavy alcohol use.
The good news is that there are dietary changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing gout, including:
- Consuming 8 – 16 cups of fluid daily, with at least half coming from water
- Abstaining from alcohol or limiting intake
- Eating a well-balanced diet, i.e., following the MyPlate scheme
- Eating a moderate amount of protein, i.e., avoiding high-protein diets
As for cherries, some research, such as this article published in Arthritis & Rheumatism last year, has shown that cherry consumption is associated with a decreased risk of gout attacks. However, a high level of cherry intake is not a recommended cornerstone to gout management and prevention. Like all foods, cherries should be included in moderation in the diet, amidst other fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats—to build a complete, well-balanced diet. As for cherry extracts and supplements, it is always recommended to get nutrients from foods first, as food sources provide other important nutrients, like fiber and vitamins. Check with your doctor before starting any dietary supplement to ensure safety and to review potential interactions with prescription medications.