Experiencing Gout? Cherries Are Your New Hero!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard someone complain about gout!

Gout is a chronic and debilitating disease that entails recurrent episodes of inflamed, painful, and dysfunctional joints. Left untreated, gout sufferers face a higher risk of mortality as gout can be a superficial manifestation of more serious illnesses. This includes chronic kidney disease, as well as metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

Did you know that gout was historically dubbed as the disease of kings? Gout was blamed on an overindulgence in food and alcohol. It has affected many rich and famous men including Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, King Henry VIII, and “Piero the Gouty”of the Florentine Medici family. Even Benjamin Franklin was not spared from the disease.

What causes gout?

Gout occurs when urate crystals precipitate and accumulate in your joint. These crystals cause swelling, pain and therefore, great discomfort to gout sufferers.

Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

Do you remember those sugar or salt crystal activities that we did in science class? When a solution is supersaturated, crystals form.

Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

The same happens in the body. Urate crystals form when there are high levels of uric acid in the blood. Uric acid is a waste product of purine breakdown.

So are purines bad for us?

Of course not! Purines are naturally found in our body. Purines and pyrimidines are found in DNA which is the blueprint of each cell – the single units that make up our body.

However, some foods that we eat can be high in purines. Their breakdown during digestion contributes to the overall uric acid in our bloodstream.

Photo from webmd.com
Photo from webmd.com

Normally, uric acid in the blood is filtered by the kidneys and is excreted with urine. But sometimes, either the body makes too much uric acid (either with increased metabolism or excessive dietary purines) or the kidneys excrete too little uric acid.

This excess uric acid can form into sharp needle-like crystals in a joint, causing pain & inflammation of the surrounding tissue.

How can cherries help with gout management?

Photo by Olivia Watson on Unsplash

Because of its diverse nutrient content, cherries have been studied as an alternative or complementary treatment for different diseases in recent years. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been found beneficial in patients with gout, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The compounds found in cherries help manage gout in four ways:

  1. Cherries as antioxidants. Anthocyanins and other phenolics found in cherries interfere with the oxidation process by neutralizing free radicals with cherry skins having the highest in total phenolics and antioxidant activities.
  1. Anti-inflammatory effect of cherries and anthocyanins. Urate crystals stimulate the production of prostaglandins and other enzymes that promote inflammatory response. Anthocyanin and its metabolites inhibit the production of these inflammatory instigators with effects comparable to rofecoxib, a known drug used for arthritis management.
  1. Impact of anthocyanins on osteoclastogenesis. Did you know that our bones are continuously broken down (involving osteoclasts) and rebuilt (involving osteoblasts)? In patients with gout, there is a higher rate of osteoclastogenesis or the creation of osteoclasts. Anthocyanin cyanidins are being studied more for their effect on the downregulation of osteoclastogenesis in gout patients.
  1. Vitamin C and quercetin as bioactive components of cherries. Vitamin C may have a role in lowering the uric acid levels in our blood and regular Vitamin C intake helps lower the overall risk of a person for developing gout.

Quercetin, a flavonol and phenolic, has been well studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which provide beneficial and protective properties for treating gout.

Easy Cherry Preserves

Did you know that cherries are seasonal produce? That’s why you can preserve and freeze them so you can prolong the shelf-life of your fresh cherries. Here’s how I made mine:

Step 1. Roughly chop 2 pounds of washed cherries and put them in a saucepan. You want big chunks for the chew, and small chunks for the juice.
Step 2. Add ¾ cup of sugar and 2 tsp salt.
Step 3. Add 3 tbsp of lemon juice. This helps to support the natural tartness of the cherries.
Step 4. Simmer over medium heat. Five minutes in, you should be able to see the juice come out of the cherries. Stir every 3 minutes.
Step 5. Twenty minutes in, the mixture would have liquid enough to cover the solids. From this point, I increased the heat to medium high. This is to facilitate faster thickening BUT I kept on stirring so that the bottom doesn’t get burnt.
Step 6. After 45 minutes I have a mixture thick enough so that when I coat the back of a spoon with it, I can draw a clean line using my finger. Turn off heat.
Step 7. Take off the pan from the heat. Keep mixing it for 10 minutes off-heat, then let it cool for another 15-25 minutes until it is easy to handle. I used a rubber spatula when transferring the cherry preserve into an airtight container. This is so I can maximize my yield. (You can also wipe the saucepan with bread and eat it so you REALLY maximize the yield)
Let it cool then store it in the fridge to be used as a topping, filling, sauce, or mix-in for quick-fix meals and snacks.

Let it cool then store it in the fridge to be used as a topping, filling, sauce, or mix-in for quick-fix meals and snacks.

Make this Cherry Lemonade with cherry preserves at the bottom, ice and 1:1 ratio of lemonade and soda water.

Make this Black Forest Chia Pudding with 1 cup chocolate milk (I used soy), 4 tbsp chia seeds, and when that thickened, I topped it with the cherry preserves.

Final Words

Cherries are fruits that are praised for their vibrant color and flavor; In the world of nutrition, they are also valuable for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are proven beneficial for multiple diseases. Additional properties such as the hypouremic effects and osteoclastogenesis downregulation are especially helpful for preventing and managing gout.


This post is sponsored by Northwest Cherries Philippines (@nwcherriesphl on Facebook and Instagram).

Northwest Cherries are available only a few months a year. The dark sweet and yellow cherries are recognized throughout the world for their sweetness, firmness, and consistency in color. They are offered by online fruit sellers and are also found in the produce section of supermarkets nationwide.

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