7 Best Foods That Beat Out UTIs
There is a whole long list of choices you can make to help prevent a UTI from popping up or to help get rid of one already there. But one of the more overlooked ways to cope with painful urinary tract infections is your diet.
What we put in our bodies can be the first line of defense. So I’m here to give you a rundown of “The UTI Clean Eating Diet” – foods and drinks that heal and foods and drinks that harm.
These are simple, inexpensive, and even tasty changes you can make right away.
Foods And Drinks That Heal
Here is a rundown of what to add to your diet to prevent and treat UTIs. I’ll start with the benefit you are looking for, give you a few examples of what to eat/drink, and then dig into the science behind it.
Let’s start with the most important part of the “The UTI Diet” (and it’s not even a food): water.
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There are so many reasons to up your water intake when you are dealing with urinary tract infections or trying to prevent them in the future, but the biggest one is this:
- More water = more urine: the more you go to the bathroom, the more you flush bacteria out of your urinary tract
Keeping your body hydrated is important for preventing those UTIs in general, but make sure to up your intake even more when you are currently dealing with an infection.
Probiotics: Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, and Fermented Produce
If you are suffering from a UTI, have ever suffered from a UTI, or struggle with recurrent UTIs, probiotics is a no-brainer choice for you diet:
- Probiotics have been shown to be effective treatments for all sorts of urological conditions
- Probiotics have been shown to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in women
- Probiotics help keep your body healthy after a round of antibiotics (or multiple rounds of antibiotics for recurrent infections) by replenishing the good bacteria
You can benefit from taking a probiotic supplement, but also by adding in foods with active cultures.
If you want to learn how to ferment your own vegetables for probiotics, check out this helpful video:
Epicatechin and Antioxidants: Berries
Berries are such a phenomenal choice no matter what you are trying to do with your health. They are relatively low in sugar, while staying high in all sorts of vitamins and minerals.
You have probably heard to drink cranberry juice if you have a UTI.
One of the reasons this is prescribed is epicatechin: a flavanol that is not only antimicrobial, it also prevents bacteria from attaching to the bladder.
Try eating whole cranberries or cooking with the cranberries.
Then remember all berries are great sources of antioxidants as well. Anything that can help you fight infection and keep your body healthy is a great choice to combat UTIs.
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Vitamin A: Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Apricots, and Cantaloupe
It’s time to think orange (produce, that is) for your urinary health!
Vitamin A has been shown to be a great UTI- buster for those suffering from recurrent infections.
In fact, one study showed the average recurrence rate dropped from 3.58 infections in 6 months to .075 in 6 months in patients with a vitamin A therapy.
It just so happens that much of our orange-colored produce is super high in vitamin A.
So make sure to add a serving of sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or carrots to your dinner. Try a cantaloupe/vanilla yogurt smoothie in the morning.
Vitamin C: Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Red Peppers
There is something important I want you to remember when it comes to boosting your vitamin C levels to combat UTIs: citrus fruits are not the only foods with high vitamin C.
This is why it’s important: Johhs Hopkins informs us that lots of vitamin C can limit the growth of bacteria (which is great!), but citrus fruits can be a bit of an irritant to an already inflamed bladder (which is not so great!).
If you are trying to prevent another UTI, feel free to add in the citrus.
But if you are in the midst of a UTI, try some non-citrus vitamin C foods to help kill bacteria and boost your immune system without irritating your bladder even more.
You probably already know that garlic is the go-to home remedy for countless health problems, but this is how it attacks the bacteria that causes so many urinary tract infections.
Allicin is a compound you find in garlic. It is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparastic. In particular, Allicin attacks E. coli – which just so happens to be the #1 bacteria responsible for UTIs.
Add some extra fresh garlic to the meals you already enjoy cooking and boost your immune system in general while you’re at it.
EGC: Green Tea
Green tea came out years ago as the new “superfood” everyone should be drinking instead of coffee. It may be trendy, but it happened for a good reason: green tea really is quite the health powerhouse.
It also has something called EGC.
This substance has been shown to have “antimicrobial effects” on E. coli (which we already know is the #1 bacteria culprit of UTIs). And EGC comes through in your urine with enough concentration that it could actually attack any E. coli stuck the walls of your bladder.
So drink it up!
Foods And Drinks That Harm
Now that we’ve spent time going over all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to heal up from urinary tract infections, let’s focus on the foods to avoid.
Some of these foods should be reduced to help prevent a urinary tract infection, and some are only foods to avoid when you are in the midst of a urinary tract infection.
Sugar + Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar can really wreak havoc in the body. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is a big no-no for UTI sufferers. Here are some of the problems you can find:
- Sugar can irritate the bladder (as can artificial sweeteners)
- Sugar can weaken your immune system
- Sugar can surge your blood sugar, which can then lead to a UTI
Switching out natural sugar for artificial sweeteners will not help the situation. So reduce your overall sugar intake, and try sweetening your meals with berries.
Spicy Foods + Acidic Foods
Spicy foods and acidic are not necessarily going to give you a urinary tract infection, but anything that is highly inflammatory or irritating to the body should be avoided until you fully heal.
If you deal with recurrent UTIs, it may be a good idea to lay low on the spicy foods and acidic foods even when you are not in the midst of a current infection.
The last thing you want to do is to introduce any sort of inflammation or irritation to your body.
Coffee + Alcohol
You already know two things you should be drinking more of if you deal with UTIs: water and green tea. Now let’s talk about two drinks you should have less of: coffee and alcohol.
I know, I know – two of the most beloved liquid categories!
But both of these dehydrate your body, and they can irritate your bladder.
So if you are in the midst of an infection or a sufferer of recurrent UTIs, swap out your morning coffee or a hot mug of green tea, and reduce (or eliminate for a while) your alcohol consumption.
There you have it: basic guidelines for a UTI diet.
While there are many other supplements to take and lifestyle choices to switch, making basic changes at the diet level can really help you kick a UTI more quickly – and help you stop the pattern of recurrent UTIs.
Of course, if you have any dietary restrictions or other health problems, always consult your doctor before any big changes to your daily diet.