Gout is caused by the body breaking down proteins into purines and then into uric acid. This form of arthritis becomes extremely painful when the uric acid crystallizes in the blood and then is deposited in the joints. Many studies have been conducted since 1950 on the effects of eating cherries for the treatment of gout. The majority of these studies have found that patients eating between 6-40 cherries a day or their equivalent in juice, had fewer flare ups and reduced pain and swelling during a flare up.
The best cherries for gout seem to be debatable. Anthocyanin is the pigment in cherries that makes them red. They help the body dissolve the uric acid crystals so the kidneys can excrete them. Since sweet cherries, such as Bing Cherries are very dark, they contain more anthocyanin. Many believe that they are the best cherries for gout. However, some studies claim that Montmorency (tart) cherries contain more anthocyanin. All the information available does state that the high carb Maraschino Cherry is not effective. Cherries are also high in potassium that creates an alkaline state in the body, which reduces the formation of acids in the blood, especially uric acid.
There is controversy on the effectiveness of which form of cherry you should consume. Raw, cooked, frozen or dried cherries all contain anthocyanin but in differing amounts. Raw cherries with a full dark color seem to be the most preferred. Raw cherries may be difficult to obtain on a continuous basis. In most areas, they are a seasonal fruit available for approximately three months. Flash frozen cherries and dried cherries are the best cherries for gout if a raw option is unavailable, since these methods of preservation let the cherry retain the most nutrients and anthocyanin. Cooked or canned cherries will retain the least amount of nutrients and anthocyanin.
Some people prefer drinking cherry juice or using a cherry juice concentrate. Tart cherry juice should be mixed with water in a ratio of one part cherry juice to two parts water. Drinking two to three glasses during an attack and one glass a day for maintenance, works well for many gout sufferers. Black cherry concentrate is much sweeter and easier for most people to consume. It should also be mixed with water. Use one to two tablespoons per six to eight ounces of water. Drink two glasses a day during an attack and one a day for maintenance.
If you are on a carb restricted diet or some other diet that would make eating cherries or drinking cherry juice detrimental to your health, there are cherry capsules available.
What are the best cherries for gout? As with most natural remedies, the consensus is that you will have to experiment with how many cherries or juice you will need to consume to achieve the best results. You have nothing to lose by giving cherries a chance to treat your gout. They are safe to consume and have no side effects as do many prescription medications used to treat gout.