If you suffer from gout, you know that flare-ups are uncomfortable and distressing. Symptoms like sudden pain, inflammation, and sensations of heat can turn a good day into a difficult one. If you’re lucky enough to not know what gout is already, it’s the most common type of inflammatory arthritis in which uric acid painfully crystallizes in joints. While it’s true that your risk of gout increases as you age, there’s good news to report: These potent natural remedies quash a flare-up in its tracks, letting you get back to enjoying all the season has to offer.
Permission to linger under the covers a little longer: Turns out getting a good night’s rest is one of the most relaxing ways to ward off a gout flare-up. A study out of Taiwan in the journal PLOS ONE found that those who clock seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night had lower levels of uric acid in their blood than folks who slept less. Scientists say inadequate sleep raises levels of catecholamine, a hormone that can increase uric acid levels.
Canadian scientists say opting for sugarless fizzy drinks (like seltzer instead of soda) reduces gout risk by up to 50 percent since excess sugar intake can spike uric acid levels.
Drink this soother.
A Boston University study found eating 30 dried tart cherries or drinking six ounces of tart cherry juice daily cuts your risk of flare-ups 35 percent in two days. Even better: When folks taking the Rx allopurinol also ate 10 cherries daily, their risk of a gout attack plunged 75 percent — better than meds alone. Cherries’ anthocyanins ease inflammation and block uric acid formation.
Adjust the thermostat.
A tiny tweak can save money on your heating bill and thwart gout. Boston University scientists found being exposed to temperatures well above 70 degrees for 48 hours increased the risk of a gout attack by up to 40 percent. High temperatures can trigger a buildup of acid. But simply keeping the thermostat programmed between 60 and 70 degrees can nix flare-ups.
Supplement with C.
Harvard scientists found taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C per day (or eating two cups of C-rich citrus, bell peppers, or leafy greens) helps flush uric acid, preventing crystallization in the joints. This cuts gout flare-ups by as much 69 percent.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.