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natural remedies for gout

Pain Relief with Nutrition: Effective Home Remedies for Gout

gout herbs nutrition

Gout is the painful buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint.  Usually it's the big toe, but it could be found in the hands, elbows, knees, or ankles.  It can be an underlying cause of kidney stones.  Gout-affected areas are very sensitive to the touch.  Usually they're warm, red, and swollen.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), any unusual swelling with heat and redness is what we call "damp-heat."  Dampness and heat are 2 of the "evil Qi."  

First, the good news - 

Gout is actually quite treat-able! 

... with a few diet changes.  

In order to have less dampness and heat, we need to consume LESS

  • sugar, including fructose (fruit juices)
  • alcohol
  • white flour products (flour tortillas, pizza crust, buns and other white breads, etc.)
  • fish and shellfish 
  • red meat

Those foods are considered "hot-natured" in TCM.  

Another potential cause, which is probably a moot point these days, is consuming a large amount of organ meat, like liver.  I don't know anybody who consumes a large amount of liver anymore, do you? 

Rather than focusing on what to AVOID, I like to talk about what you can ADD to your diet to treat and prevent gout flare ups.  

These foods are healing for gout:

  • all the vegetables, especially seaweed, beets, and cruciferous vegetables
  • plenty of fresh water (DRINK MORE WATER!  It's the #1 cure for "heat.") 
  • turmeric (not curcumin, but the whole plant turmeric which can be taken in tablet form or bought at the store and grated into your tea or food, like curry)
  • phellodendron (in TCM it's called "Huang Bai"), which is a source of berberine
  • atractylodis (in TCM, "Cang Zhu") dries "dampness"
  • achyranthis bidentatae (in TCM, "Niu Xi," meaning Ox Knee); it's the flowering part of the amaranth plant; it's said to "strengthen the kidney."  Strong knees ("ox knees") are a sign of strong kidneys. 
  • coicis (in TCM "Yi Yi Ren") is a type of grain called "Job's Tears."  You can buy it at the Asian food market and make it into a congee.  

Unfortunately, I realize that a listicle is rarely going to help you make changes in your lifestyle.  What most people will do is say "Oh, ok," and then close the tab and go about their lives.  

To make a lasting change in your diet, you need to think about things differently.  

First, set your intention that you're ready to get healthy.  When you're prepared to do whatever it takes, then you're at least halfway there. 

What I'd recommend to do next is PREPARE.  80% of eating healthy is being ready for it.  Don't wait until you're starving after work, at 6 pm, to figure out what's for dinner.  You should've planned it the night before.  Or a few days before.  

Need help?  Download our free cookbook!  

On Sundays and Wednesdays, what I do is think about what I'll be cooking and eating for the next 3-4 days.  Some people do 2 weeks at a time; do what works best for you.  In France, they go grocery shopping every day, from what I've heard.  Point is, figure out what works best for your life. 

Regularly schedule about 15-30 minutes to plan your meals and snacks for the next few days/week(s). 

Get your recipes out.  I recently started uploading all my recipes (scattered about in torn out magazine pages and old prepared meal delivery sheets) into Google Keep (part of the Google Drive suite). 

Total game changer.  You can "command + F" to search, for example, recipes containing "bell peppers" or "kale." 

Pick out a few recipes, and write down what you need from the store.  It's really as simple as that.  

Focus on VEGETABLE-HEAVY dishes.  It DOESN'T REALLY MATTER if you go vegetarian, vegan, paleo, whole 30, Mediterranean, whatever.  Just as long as it contains at least half of its ingredients from VEGETABLES.  

Find recipes that have none of the gout-forbidden ingredients - fish, red meat, sugar, white flour/wheat. 

You can (maybe) someday add those back into your diet.  For now, try to completely eliminate them for at least 30 days.  Once any flare-up is over, you can try to add them back in. 

And if you find adding them back in leads to another flare up (could take 2-3 days), TAKE THEM BACK OUT AGAIN.  

The good news is there are plenty of other foods to chose from.  Focus on those.  

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