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From our follow-up files

August 01, 2010

 

Bingeing on Bings for gout?

A reader was surprised that we didn't mention cherries in our April 2010 story about gout. Dr. Robert Shmerling, who helped us develop that article, has researched and written about cherries and gout before. His bottom line: cherries might have some anti-gout properties, but there's just not enough evidence to recommend them as a remedy or preventive.

Gout occurs when uric aid, a byproduct of normal metabolism, forms crystals in the joints, and there is a little bit of research suggesting that bowls of cherries could lower our uric acid levels. Results reported in The Journal of Nutrition in 2003 showed that the uric acid levels of 10 study volunteers decreased by about 15% on average after they ate two servings of sweet Bing cherries (280 grams). Cherries contain a fair amount of vitamin C, and vitamin C seems to push down uric acid levels. Gout also involves some inflammation, and cherries, like many plant-based foods, contain substances that are anti-inflammatory.

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