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Gout: What Is It? & What are its Natural Remedies?

Gout: What Is It? & What are its Natural Remedies?

Gout is a medical condition characterized by abnormal metabolism of uric acid. This causes arthritis in the smaller bones of the feet and deposition of chalk-stones with episodic acute pains in the bones.

In gout condition, the body produces an excess amount of uric acid that gets deposited in the bones and tissues. People with gout condition have inadequate kidneys that couldn’t process the uric acid easily. Despite a long history, the gout condition has become more common, with more people falling victim to it.

It is important to understand that in case of gout, there are some gout dietary restrictions that one needs to follow. Some foods may not be recommended or should be avoided from the diet. Keeping these points in mind, one can effectively find relief from gout-related pain and inflammation.

Gout: What are the causes?

A gout attack strikes with excruciating pain and usually it targets the larger joint of the big toe. The whole area around the larger joint swells up and turns red. And even the lightest pressure on it becomes intolerable.

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A complex type of arthritis, gout culminates from high levels of uric acid in the blood. This condition is called hyperuricemia. Normally, uric acid gets dissolved in the blood and the kidney eliminates it. However, at times the body fails to process the uric acid. This could be for two reasons, either the body is producing excessive uric acid, or is unable to excrete it totally with urine. As a result, uric acid gets accumulated in crystal forms in the joints and neighboring tissues, leading to painful inflammation.

The possibility of suffering from hyperuricemia, and gout depends on numerous factors, such as:

Weight: With increase in weight, the body tissues in turn produce more uric acid as metabolic waste product. Also, fat cells produces cytokines, which leads to inflammation of the tissues.

Genetically prone: Gout runs in some families as a hereditary medical condition. In such cases, the probability of developing gout is quite high.

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Gender and age: Comparatively, uric acid is produced more in men than women. However, after menopause, women also acquire the same level of uric acid as in men.

Lead exposure: Gout could be developed from regular exposure to lead too. According to a Stanford study, 95% of the lead get stored in your bone and teeth, “bone seeker” the term given by toxicologists.[1]

Medications and other health problems: A few medications which include diuretics and salicylate can also aid in increasing the uric acid level in the blood. Health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and hypothyroidism can also contribute to the development of gout condition.

Natural Home Remedies To Relieve Gout Pain

More often than not, gout pain hits at night. And if one doesn’t have the medication to take care of it, then it could be one long, extremely painful night. So, to avoid such situations, here are a few natural remedies to soothe the pain that could come handy.

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Apple Cider Vinegar: This salad seasoning and common household cleanser could be used to relieve gout pain. The acetic acid present in the vinegar helps in cutting down the pain. Add some honey to reduce the inflammation. Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey and water, drink the remedy two to three times a day for best results.

Baking Soda: The main factor resulting in gout is uric acid, and baking soda has the potential to decrease its amount in the body. Simply add 1/2 a tablespoon of baking soda in water and drink at least four times a day but not more than that. Do not take this remedy if you suffer from hypertension.

Lemon juice: Take lemons or any fruit which is rich in vitamin C. They work in reducing the amount of uric acid as vitamin C alkalizes the body. You can either consume lemon juice with a glass of water three times a day, or mix it with 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda, let the fizzing settle and then mix it with water. Drink it immediately.

Ginger root: Owing to its inflammatory properties, ginger root is quite helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. It can be administered in a number of ways to relieve gout pain. You can topically apply a paste of ginger root with water on the affected area for about 1/2 an hour daily. You can also drink a solution of fenugreek powder, turmeric powder and dried ginger root powder twice daily: add 1/2 tablespoon of ginger root powder to a cup of water and boil it well before consumption. Or simply eat a piece of raw ginger root daily.

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Epsom salt: Epsom salt has a high magnesium amount, and magnesium helps in lowering blood pressure levels. Take a bucket of warm water, add epsom salt and dip the affected areas in it. You will feel instant relief from pain and inflammation.

Fruits like, cherries, apples, and bananas: Cherries have antioxidant properties, like anthocyanins, which aids in reducing sudden gout outbursts and swelling. You can either eat 15 to 20 cherries daily, or drink black cherry juice with small pieces of garlic cloves for the best results. Apples have abundant malic acid, which is also helpful in reducing the uric acid contained in the body. So, eat one apple a day to keep the uric acid level in check.

On the other hand, bananas are rich potassium, and potassium has the ability to liquidize the uric acid crystals. Thus, it will help in easy discharging with urine. Eating at least two bananas is recommended for gout condition.

In addition to the above mentioned remedies, you can also do exercises, reduce the alcohol consumption and caffeine intakes, avoid purine rich foods like organ meats, sardines, and anchovies, which can increase uric acid level. Hydration is also quite important in treating gout condition. Drink lots of water and juices that include beet, pineapple, etc. Eliminating sugar and soda from the diet should also help.

And lastly, we have activated charcoal, which supposedly absorbs uric acid. You can either apply a paste of charcoal powder mixed with water to the affected area or dip the gout attacked areas in hot water with 1/2 a cup of charcoal powder in it.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

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