Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are characterized by bacterial infections that develop in your urinary tract, which is composed of the bladder, kidneys and urethra, according to the University of Michigan Health System. UTIs are often accompanied by lower back cramping, abdominal pain and burning sensations during urination. In addition to prescribed medications, your doctor will usually recommend dietary adjustments to prevent further urinary tract irritation.
Kefir, yogurt and other fermented products contain "good" bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. According to the book "Healthy Foods" by Mark and Myrna Goldstein, these friendly bacteria help strengthen your urinary tract and other urogenital conditions. These bacteria are also beneficial for forming protective bacteria barriers from your vaginal to bladder area, which helps reduce UTI symptoms.
Vitamin C Foods
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is often used to combat UTI symptoms since it helps inhibit E. coli growth, makes your urine less acidic and may reduce your chances of developing recurrent UTIs. Examples of vitamin C-rich foods include oranges, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, red berries, kiwi, broccoli, spinach, guava and grapefruit. The University of Michigan Health System recommends you take up to 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily to promote the healing process.
Cranberries and Blueberries
According to a 2008 article in the New York Times, drinking up to 2 cups of cranberry juice daily decreases the severity and number of urinary tract infections in women. Like cranberries, blueberries contain plant compounds called proanthocyanidins, which prevent E. coli from binding to your cells in the urinary tract. They also contain immune-system-boosting antioxidants. You can add cranberries and blueberries to smoothies and other dessert dishes.
In the book "Healthy Foods," authors Myrna and Mark Goldstein suggest limiting your daily intake of sugary foods to prevent the breeding of bacteria in your urinary tract system. Instead of consuming sugar-packed foods like carbonated drinks, cakes and cookies, choose foods that contain reduced, low or no sugar, such as water, fruits and whole grains.
Is This an Emergency?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Urinary Tract Infection in Women
- New York Times: Urinary Tract Infection -- Adults
- Harvard Medical School: Can Your Diet Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?
- "Healthy Foods"; Myrna Goldstein and Mark Goldstein; 2010
- University of Michigan Health Center: Urinary Tract Infection