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Eat for Urinary Health
Good nutrition is good for your health. You know this already. But did you know that smart eating might be able to help you to improve your urinary health, too?
If you experience repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs), talk to your doctor about whether the dietary tips below might work for you. Keep in mind that if you suffer from any medical conditions, your dietary needs might be different and that you should always follow your doctor’s advice.
Berry juice: According to researchers in Finland, women who drink at least one glass of juice per day may be 34% less likely to develop a UTI than women who do not drink juice. Berry juices, according to the scientists’ paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, seem to be more protective than other juices. Berries are rich in flavonols, a chemical plants produce in response to bacterial infection. These flavonols, say the researchers, may help suppress microrganisms in humans, as well, in part by helping to prevent bacteria from adhering to human cells.1
Of course juices can be high in sugar and calories, so talk to your doctor before adding more juice to your daily diet, especially if you have diabetes, are overweight, or have another medical condition.
Fermented milk products: The same Finnish researchers mentioned above also found that women who consume fermented milk products (such as yogurt, kefir, and cheese) more than three times per week can be 80% less likely to develop UTIs than women who consume fermented milk products just once per week.
Fermented milk products contain lactobacilli, a type of beneficial bacteria that the scientists say can inhabit the digestive tract and replace some of the coliform bacteria responsible for UTIs.1
Water: By staying hydrated with water, experts at the National Institutes of Health, say you can help keep your urine dilute (to potentially impede bacterial growth) and help ensure you urinate more frequently (to flush bacteria from your urinary tract). Aim for 6-8 glasses per day.*2
Alcohol and caffeine: If you’re prone to UTIs consider avoiding alcoholic and caffeinated beverages – which can irritate your bladder and, in the case of alcohol, also contribute to dehydration.3,4
Fiber: In some people, especially children, constipation can contribute an increased UTI risk. Experts at the University of California, San Francisco, note that there is a close relationship between the muscles and nerves that control the bladder and those that control the bowel. In addition, the bladder and the colon are close together in the body. Large amounts of stool in the colon can put pressure on the bladder, potentially preventing it from emptying well, which can be a UTI risk factor.5
To help prevent constipation, drink plenty of fluids and eat fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain breads rich in fiber. Avoid fiber-poor foods such as chips and other snack foods, as well as fast foods and processed foods.6
Dietary supplements: You may be able to help maintain your urinary health by adding Cystex Urinary Health Maintenance to your daily routine. One tablespoon is loaded with ingredients that can benefit your urinary system including a prebiotic to help promote healthy bacteria, an anti-inflammatory to help prevent tissue damage, an anti-adherent to help keep bad bacteria from sticking around, and an anti-oxidant to generally help protect your body.
Of course, with UTIs being one of the most common infections in the U.S., even the most admirable diet can’t prevent every UTI.
If you experience UTI symptoms like a frequent urge to urinate, a burning feeling while urinating, cloudy or strong smelling urine, or pelvic pain; contact your doctor right away. The only cure for a UTI is a prescription antibiotic.
Playing the waiting game for your appointment or medicine? Try an over-the-counter product like Cystex® Plus Urinary Pain Relief Tablets to help relieve the pain associated with a UTI and keep the infection in check in the interim.
*Talk with your healthcare provider if you can’t drink theis recommended amount or water or other liquids due to health problems, such as urinary incontinence, urinary frequency, or kidney failure.
- Kontiokari T, Laitinen J, Järvi L et al. Dietary factors protecting women from urinary tract infection. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003; vol. 77 no. 3, 600-604. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofv133.1128
- Urinary Tract Infections in Adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/urologic-disease/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed August 8, 2016.
- Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Women. Medscape website. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1958794-overview. Accessed August 9, 2016.
- Urinary Tract Infection in Women – Self-Care. U.S. National Library of Medicine/MedlinePlus website https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000391.htm. Accessed August 9, 2016
- Constipation. University of California, San Francisco, Department of Urology website https://urology.ucsf.edu/patient-care/children/constipation. Accessed August 9, 2016.
- Eating, Diet, and Nutrition for Constipation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/constipation/Pages/eating-diet-nutrition.aspx. Accessed August 9, 2016.