By: Batool Ali |
Arthritis happens due to joint disorder and this disease causes inflammation of joints. Gout is a kind of arthritis in which sodium urate crystals accumulate around the joints, leading to swelling and inflammation. While the most commonly affected area is the joint of the big toe, it can affect just any joint. Symptoms develop rapidly and in anywhere between 6 and 24 hours they could easily last for 3 to 10 days and this is termed as a gout attack. After this the pain will start subsiding and gradually relieve completely. It may return later on though, and the time period between each attack may vary from person to person.
Considering the intensity of the pain gout attack causes and how it may render you unable to work, it is very important to treat and reduce it. It has been found that cherries eliminate this pain. The reason is the nutrients present in these fruits to which the pain responds. Cherries have high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins and these two together help in reducing pain, inflammation and stiffness. The rich, reddish-purple color of cherries is owing to poly-nutrients and anthocyanins and the richer the color, the more antioxidants that fruit contains.
The different forms in which cherries can be consumed
Raw or cooked: the University of Michigan Health System has found that the form in which cherries are consumed does not matter; you can have them raw or cooked and you will be getting the same anti-inflammatory substances. Their research claims that you will find a major relief in joint pain if you consume around half a pound of cherries every day till four consecutive weeks. In case you are having them in cooked form make sure to include the cooking juices.
Canned: canned cherries are equally helpful in relieving you of joint pain, as concluded by the University of Michigan. So, make sure to have a couple of cans handy in your pantry just in case you run out of fresh cherries and need it urgently. Remember, though, that maraschino does not count because of the added preservatives and sugar in it.
Juice: tart cherry juice is thought to be the savior for those having intense gout pain. Tart cherries also contain high levels of potassium which stimulates the production of an alkaline-forming state and gives protection against acidosis which assists in disease formation. Six ounces of tart cherry juice needs to be taken in, which equals half a pound of raw cherries. In case you find tart cherry juice too unpalatable for your taste, try mixing it with black cherry juice to sweeten it up.
Powder: cherry powder is another alternative, portable and easy to consumer. A study funded by the Cherry Marketing Institute in 2008 concluded that rats who were given dried cherry powder showed reduced inflammation.
Concentrate: you get cherry concentrate when you remove all extra water from the normal cherry juice. Being a concentrate it has pain-relieving nutrients in saturated form and greatly helps with pain. Also, since it is concentrated just about two ounces diluted with water is enough to relieve joint pain. One thing to look out for is that the concentrate you are going for is organic and void of any chemicals.
Supplements: supplements containing cherries are available in different forms; capsules, extracts and snack bars. Although cherry supplements are not a cure for gout but they definitely help with relieving pain. Since these are supplements they also have other nutrients commonly required by our body, such as vitamin C. Though you normally require about a total of 2,000 mg of cherry extract each day, consulting a medical practitioner is preferable prior to taking on supplements you do not know about.
Other benefits of cherries
The health benefits of cherries are not limited to just relieving joint pain. The benefits of this fruit go beyond that and you may have more than one excuse to consume cherries.
Diabetes: cherries protect you against diabetes. Due to a low glycemic index, of just 22, cherries are a much better fruit snack for diabetics as compared to other fruits such as apricots (glycemic index 57).
Sleep: if you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, try having cherry juice twice a day; once thirty minutes after waking up and the second time 30 minutes prior to your snack in the evening. According to a study this habit allows for an increase in melatonin intake, a hormone responsible for sleep cycles.
Heart problem: tart cherries are a great and simple way to ward off heart problems. The anthocyanins present in cherries activate PPAR that regulates genes concerned with metabolizing fat and glucose. This decreases risks of high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Thus, helping the heart as well. Besides, cherries contain high levels of potassium which are beneficial for heart rate and blood pressure regulation along with reducing hypertension. Considering that heart disease is the number one cause of death and around 600,000 people in the US die due to heart problems, it is certainly time to include tart cherries in your daily meals and snacks.
Post workout soreness: remember when you overdid on your workout and ended up all sore and had trouble even walking? This post workout soreness can be easily cured with cherries. Raw cherries or cherry juice helps reduce muscle inflammation to a great extent and therefore is a great way to combat soreness.
These petite stone fruits, sweet or sour, are loaded with nutrition and yet they are often overlooked. Including them in your diet is a great idea, whether you need to regulate your sleep, keep your heart safe, or need help with joint pain. Hesitate no more and replace the more harmful sweet snacks such as candy with cherries.
Batool Ali is an enthusiastic blogger with a particular interest in health and science.