The urinary tract includes the bladder, kidneys and ureters. A healthy urinary tract prevents the buildup of waste in the body, keeps electrolytes in check and aids in the production of certain hormones. Unfortunately, the urinary tract is at risk for the development of certain acute and chronic health conditions, including infection and some types of cancer. To prevent these conditions, be sure to incorporate certain types of food into your diet.
Fermented Dairy Products
Fermented dairy products are made by injecting fresh milk with bacteria, then storing the product at a temperature that favors bacterial growth. According to a 2003 study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," eating fermented dairy products -- like yogurt, sour cream, sour milk and some cheeses -- can be effective at maintaining urinary tract health. In fact, those who eat fermented dairy foods at least three times a week are 80 percent less likely to experience urinary tract infection, compared to those who eat these foods only occasionally.
Cranberry juice is often recommended when it comes to building urinary tract health. Certain compounds found in cranberry juice -- like fructose and proanthocyanidins -- maintain urinary tract health by preventing the growth of pathogens, including E. coli bacteria. Research published in 2003 in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" states that juices made from other berries, like blueberries, can also help when it comes to building urinary tract health. Individuals who drink one glass of berry juice per day can reduce their risk of developing urinary tract infection by 34 percent.
Fill Up on Broccoli
The consumption of broccoli may be effective when it comes to preventing bladder cancer. A 1999 study published in the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute" found that men who ate at least two 1/2-cup servings of broccoli per week reduced their risk of developing bladder cancer by 44 percent. Other cruciferous vegetables -- like cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale -- may also help when it comes to lowering bladder cancer risk.
Get Plenty of Water
To maintain the health of your urinary tract, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Most healthy adults are encouraged to consume half their body weight in fluid ounces each day to maintain urinary tract health and to aid in the removal of waste products. Those who have been diagnosed with urinary tract infection may require even greater amounts of water. The University of California, San Diego, recommends at least 2 quarts per day for those suffering from such infections.
- Clinical Infectious Diseases: Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infection
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dietary Factors Protecting Women From Urinary Tract Infection
- Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Can Your Diet Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?
- University of Cincinnati Clermont College: Milk Fermenters
- U.S. News and World Report: The Truth About How Much Water You Should Really Drink
- University of California, San Diego: Urinary Tract Infections
- Ohio State Research: Broccoli Packs Powerful Punch to Bladder Cancer Cells
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Incidence of Bladder Cancer in a Male Prospective Cohort
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The Urinary Tract and How it Works