Patients with gout who consumed cherries over a two-day period showed a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, as compared to those who did not eat the fruit.
Findings from this research project also suggest that the risk of gout flare-ups was 75 percent lower when cherry intake was combined with the uric-acid reducing drug, allopurinol.
Previous research reports that 8.3 million adults in the US suffer from gout, an inflammatory arthritis triggered by a crystallization of uric acid within the joints that causes excruciating pain and swelling, the journal "Arthritis & Rheumatism" reports.
While there are many treatment options available, gout patients continue to be burdened by recurrent gout attacks, prompting patients and investigators to seek other preventive options such as cherries.
For this particular study, Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University and colleagues recruited 633 gout patients who were followed online for one year.
Participants were asked about the date of gout onset, symptoms, medications and risk factors, including cherry and cherry extract intake in the two days prior to the gout attack. A cherry serving was one half cup or 10 to 12 cherries, according to a Boston statement.
"Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack," said Zhang. "The gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days."