This page, strawberries for gout, was last reviewed, or updated, on 4 March 2015
Strawberries are less well known than other such gout foods as cherries and celery, and perhaps some berries. But strawberries may turn out to be your secret weapon. Read on to find out no fewer than nine reasons why.
In the 18th Century, one of the world's most significant botanists of all time, the Swede Carl Linnaeus, aka Carolus Von Linne, (1707–1778), said that eating wild strawberries had cured his gout. Linnaeus, as a botanist, was a scientific researcher of plant life. He was at the top of his profession, and he knew a lot about fruits and flowers. So what he said must be carefully considered, whilst remembering that Linnaeus had a character trait of self-exaggeration. You can read more about why and how Linnaeus used strawberries, and the results he got, if you click on this link.
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It's also been reported that he ate only strawberries. Whether this is true or not, remember that single-foods diets such as this are crash diets. We now know that these can bring on gout attacks, so copying Linnaeus is definitely not recommended.
The famous French herbalist, Maurice Mességué, recommended strawberries for gout. He said a strawberry "cure" of several days' duration would bring great relief to people with gout or kidney stones.
What is it in strawberries that caused Linnaeus to say this?
Perhaps the most important, is that strawberries have a high Vitamin C content. (Linnaeus could not have known about Vitamin C because it was discovered in the 20th century).
Of course we don't know how much Vitamin C was in 18th century strawberries but modern ones have about 59 mg per 100 grams. His two daily bowls may have totaled 300-400 grams, (10½ – 14 ozs) which means possibly he got 180 mg - 240 mg of Vitamin C daily. i.e. nearly 1 lb of strawberries gives you about 250 mg of Vitamin C. This is only half of the amount (500 mg daily) the last study said is required to lower uric acid levels. So something else in the strawberries he ate may have helped him. Or he may have got more Vitamin C from other foods he ate.
At least three studies have reported that Vitamin C will reduce uric acid levels or that it is protective against gout. In the last study, 500 mg daily would lower uric acid, not by a great deal, but by enough (10-15% of an excess level), to make it a useful aide to reducing uric acid to a level that may cure gout. i.e. below 6.0 mg/dL (0.357 mmol/L).
And one of the ways to take it in its best forms is that flavonoids accompany Vitamin C. This is not exactly news because many Vitamin C products have added flavonoids from citrus fruits.
But the problem with many Vitamin C products is that experts have said that an equal (or nearly equal) amount of flavonoids should accompany the Vitamin C. There is then more of a therapeutic effect. I have found only one supplement (and I examined about 10 Vitamin C preparations) that does this. Most have 10%-20% of flavonoids to the Vitamin C content.
And it's always said that Vitamin C is best taken naturally, from foods and juices. It's also true that some forms of manufactured Vitamin C are better than others. Read more about Gout and Vitamin C here
As well as being high in Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant, strawberries are also high in flavonoids which are also antioxidants. There are, it's thought, maybe 4,000 flavonoids, but only a few, plus the proanthocyanidins, (antioxidants again) have so far been analysed in foods. The five sub classes of flavonoids are: anthocyanidins (aka anthocyanins), flavon-3-ols, flavanones, flavones, and flavonols.
Quercetin, the food flavonoid reported to be helpful in gout treatment is an antioxidant too. And it's helpful because it may inhibit xanthine oxidase and thus reduce uric acid production. It is one of the flavonols. There is some quercetin in strawberries. It is thought flavonoids help Vitamin C's absorption. That's why flavonoids such as hesperidin and rutin are commonly added to Vitamin C products. So the flavonoids in strawberries should help the Vitamin C be absorbed.
And it is thought that xanthine oxidase may be inhibited by anthocyanidins of which there are three in strawberries.
Strawberries are towards the top of the high Vitamin C foods list and they are also high in flavonoids which help give strawberries a good ORAC score. (The ORAC assay measures the antioxidant capacity of foods). Their flavonoids' profile (the anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols and so on) is comparable to cherries, but not precisely the same.
For proanthocyanidins amounts, strawberries thrash cherries in the USDA proanthocyanidins database. Strawberries have 141 mg of proanthocyanidins per 100 grams of raw strawberries.
This is higher than most fruits in the USDA Database for the Proanthocyanidin Content of Selected Foods, which you can download from this website's free-gout-resources page.
All these factors make strawberries for gout a very good idea.
MORE REASONS WHY YOU EAT STRAWBERRIES FOR GOUT
The hints, but not the proof, are that strawberries for gout are a good idea. But the value of strawberries for gout doesn't stop here. Let's look at other dietary factors that make strawberries a food to eat for gout. All of them, and strawberries' rating in each, are gout-positive, as you'll understand if you have read around this website.
Total flavonoids to Vitamin C: 68%. Not perfect, but good.
pH: Strawberries are moderately alkaline, pH neutral, or only moderately acidic. Unlikely to affect your pH, and easily corrected if they do.
Glycemic Index: Moderate.
Glycemic Load: Low.
Water: about 91%
Strawberries also contain a useful amount of folic acid, which some think can lower uric acid.
Are there modern testimonials to strawberries for gout treatment ? I have seen a few. I seem to remember one where the fellow said he went to the refridgerator (refrigerator) for a bowl of strawberries whenever he felt a gout attack coming on, and the feeling went away after eating them. The kind of story you read about cherries, cherry juice and dried cherries.
In another account, cherries didn't work, and neither did drug medications, but strawberries did. Others talk of eating strawberries to deal with a gout attack's pain. You can hear the joy in the written words. Yet other people don't expect a complete cure from strawberries but believe strawberries help in managing gout attacks.
How much should you eat? This is a very individual-specific question, so discuss it with your doctor first, but a bowl a day to start with seems reasonable, although strawberries are a food that many are allergic to. If you're on a diet, you can fit them into the diet's rules, and make their Vitamin C content part of a daily 500 mg target for Vitamin C. Something that Linnaeus didn't know when he advocated strawberries for gout.
How to eat strawberries out of season? Strawberry supplements are very hard to find. But you can find quality dried strawberries (as well as dried red raspberries and dried wild blueberries) at the Travese Bay Farm website. Scroll down to dried superfruit.Traverse Bay Farms Award Winning Gourmet Fruit Products
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This strawberry won't get gout in the legs! It has too many anti gout nutrients.