This article discusses useful diet tips to fight UTI.
The scariest part of dealing with a urinary tract infection (UTI) is that it can last for months, maybe even years, if not properly managed. Women are particularly vulnerable to this infection, with many of them experiencing recurrent UTIs.
Some factors that predispose them to UTI are:
- Their anatomic structure. The urethra is positioned close to the anus, which may be a source of UTI-causing bacteria like Escherichia coli.
- Sexual activities. During sex, bacteria may enter the urethra and cause UTI. Certain contraceptives, such as spermicides and diaphragms, may also contain chemicals that induce a UTI.
- Hygiene-related practices. Poor hygiene may contribute to bacterial growth in the genital area.
- Genetic predisposition. Some women may be more vulnerable to UTIs because of their genetic traits.
- Hormonal fluctuations caused by pregnancy or menopause. Some hormones like the estrogen can toughen up the body’s antimicrobial properties and thus prevent UTI.
Given these factors, women should pay close attention to their lifestyle habits that affect the urinary tract’s healthy. Luckily, they can start with something simple—their diet.
Here are some diet-related tips that can enhance the body’s resistance against UTIs.
1. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
You may already be tired of hearing about how water rids the body of toxins and bacteria, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Drinking enough water daily is perhaps the most robust protection you can get against UTIs. It’s vital to our overall health, and it helps the kidneys and the urinary tract function properly. That way, the urinary organs can flush out harmful bacteria from the body more easily.
2. Eat vitamin A-rich food.
You probably know that vitamin A improves eyesight, keeps the skin healthy, and is essential for well-functioning internal organs such as the heart and lungs. However, there’s fairly new evidence that it’s also good for the kidneys and the entire urinary tract.
In 2007, a study among 24 patients with non-complicated, recurrent UTIs indicated that vitamin A can enhance the body’s immune response against UTI-causing agents. Some foods that are rich in vitamin A include:
- Sweet potato – a medium-sized sweet potato contains a bit over 100% of the recommended daily value (RDV) for vitamin A
- Carrots – one cup of raw, sliced carrots gives you over 100% of RDV
- Beef liver – 3 ounces of beef liver contains almost thrice the RDV
3. Get your daily dose of vitamin C.
When it comes to fighting bacteria, vitamin C is essential. It can stop bacteria growth in the urinary tract by making the urine more acidic. Plus, it’s also a powerful antioxidant that fights inflammation and gives the immune system a great boost. To get your everyday fill of vitamin C, include these in your diet:
- oranges – one large orange fruit contains more than 100% of the RDV for vitamin C
- red peppers – a half cup of raw red peppers has more than 100% RDV
- kale – a cup of kale contains 134% RDV
4. Avoid certain types of food and spices.
Certain substances can irritate the linings of your urinary tract and aggravate the symptoms of UTI. Avoid these foods if you’re suffering from a UTI:
- tomato and tomato products
- caffeine (may be found in coffee, some types of tea, and chocolate)
- carbonated drinks
- spicy food
- sugar and artificial sweeteners
5. Try out these food items.
In addition to those mentioned above, these food items can also help you deal with or prevent a UTI:
- Probiotics. Probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum live in the gastrointestinal tract. They aid in digestion and fight the growth of disease- or infection-causing agents. Studies have shown that consuming food containing probiotics is associated with lower risk of UTIs.
- Flavonols. Flavonols are a sub-component of flavonoids, a health-inducing substance commonly found in fruits and vegetables. They help prevent UTIs by attaching themselves to cells in the bladder and carrying out bacteria with them. Apples and plums are an excellent source, but berries and berry juices have a higher content of flavonols. Examples are cranberry and cranberry juice and blueberry.
If you are suffering from UTI, the best way to cure it is to listen exactly to what your doctor tells you. Your doctor is a well trained healthcare professional that employs recognized international and local UTI treatment guidelines.Follow their instructions especially when taking antibiotics for UTI, and inquire about single-dose antibiotic for UTI.