Dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
Don’t worry, there’s more to healing than just medication. Believe it or not, the food you eat can make a difference too.
By incorporating certain foods into your diet, you can support your body’s healing process and alleviate those uncomfortable symptoms from a UTI.
From the natural goodness of cranberries and blueberries to the soothing properties of yogurt and garlic, there’s a wide range of tasty options to explore.
Join us as we delve into the food choices when treating a UTI, offering practical tips to promote your well-being and get you back on track to feeling your best. Let’s discover the power of food in combating UTIs together.
1) Fresh berry juices & fruit juice
According to a study, consuming fresh berry and fruit juices is correlated with a reduced incidence of urinary tract infections (1). This is one of the reasons cranberry juice is often touted as a good prevention for UTIs. Cranberry juice isn’t proven to be an effective treatment for UTIs, though (2).
Drinking large quantities of juice from acidic fruits like oranges and grapefruit might irritate your bladder during a UTI, so you should be mindful of this if you’re predisposed to UTIs.
2) Foods and drinks rich in probiotics
Probiotics help feed the beneficial bacteria in your body. Having a good army of beneficial bacteria can help your body fight off bad bacteria, like the kind that causes UTIs.
While there isn’t a robust amount of research confirming their efficacy, a study suggests that probiotics can be beneficial for preventing recurring UTIs (3).
Fermented foods are an excellent source of probiotics. Try including probiotic-rich foods like:
- Sourdough bread
- Foods with added probiotics
- Certain cheeses like Swiss, provolone, Gouda, cheddar, Edam, Gruyère, and cottage cheese
You might also consider taking a probiotic supplement to help prevent UTIs. Probiotics of the lactobacillus type are the most recommended for UTI prevention.
3) Vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C may help limit the growth of bacteria in your urinary tract system. There is some scientific evidence that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can help prevent UTIs (4).
Some foods naturally rich in vitamin C (as well as antioxidants that help reduce inflammation) include:
- Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit)
- Bell peppers
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)
- White potatoes
While there isn’t extensive research on the topic of garlic and UTIs, it certainly doesn’t hurt to include garlic in a diet to help prevent UTIs. Garlic possesses antibacterial properties, which may help fight off bacteria that cause UTIs (5).
5) Potassium-rich foods
Potassium-rich foods to eat when treating a UTI include:
- Dried fruits (raisins, apricots)
- Beans & lentils
- Winter squash (acorn, butternut)
- Spinach, broccoli
- Beet greens
- Oranges, orange juice
- Coconut water
- Dairy and plant-based milk
- Cashews & almonds
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated helps flush bacteria out of your urinary tract. Dehydration is linked with a higher risk of UTIs, so drink enough fluids so that your urine isn’t dark in color or strong in odor.
- For women, wipe front to back. One of the most common sources of bacteria that cause a UTI comes from the rectum, which is why you should never wipe from back to front when using the restroom.
- (Women) Avoid using products like douches, scented sprays, and powders near your genital area. These products may alter the normal pH of your vaginal flora and might predispose you to a UTI.
- (Women) Urinate after sex. Many women get UTIs after sex when bacteria are introduced into the urethra. Try to urinate after sexual activity to help flush out bacteria and reduce the risk of getting a UTI.
When it comes to battling a urinary tract infection (UTI), remember that your plate can be your secret weapon. By incorporating UTI-friendly foods into your diet, you can provide your body with the necessary nutrients and support it needs to fight off the infection.
From the tart and refreshing cranberries to the probiotic-rich yogurt, these foods can be beneficial for your urinary tract health.
Remember to stay hydrated and prioritize whole, nutrient-dense foods to boost your immune system and promote healing.
While it’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s advice and take prescribed medications, adopting a UTI-friendly diet can be a proactive step towards a faster recovery and prevention of future infections.