10 Best Foods for Preventing Recurrent UTIs
What are the best foods to eat if you want prevent recurrent UTIs (urinary tract infections)? Here are our top picks. The UTI-preventing foods included in this List of the Best Anti-UTI Foods provide a broad range of UTI-fighting and E. coli suppressing compounds. After getting familiar with these super-foods, be sure to check out our anti-UTI recipes which feature many of the best foods for preventing UTIs.
#1: Cranberries and Cranberry Juice
The ability of cranberries and cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections is well documented. However, the exact mechanisms by which cranberries help fight UTIs are not known. One hypothesis suggests that flavonols in cranberries are able to prevent bacteria from attaching to the cells in the bladder, and consequently the bacteria get flushed out with the urine.
Blueberries have been shown to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections, much in the same way as cranberries do. In addition to providing some protection against UTIs, blueberries can provide an overall health boost to anyone. In a laboratory test conducted by USDA researchers, wild blueberries were shown to have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating of more than 20 berries and fruit.
#3: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man and one of the most nutritious vegetables there is. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent addition to your diet if you suffer from recurrent UTIs as they are one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene, a nutrient that has been shown to provide protection against UTIs. The pink, orange, and yellow varieties are one of the most concentrated food sources of beta-carotene (the more intense the color, the more beta-carotene). By including sweet potatoes in your diet you may also benefit from an increased antioxidant protection: sweet potatoes contain some unique root proteins which, according to preliminary studies, may have significant antioxidant properties. In addition, they are typically low in pesticides, even the non-organically grown produce.
Although not a food, water is included in this list of UTI-fighting foods because of its crucial role in maintaining the health of urinary tracts. The risk of getting a urinary tract infection has been shown be directly affected by fluid intake. An adequate consumption of water can also aid in the treatment of an established UTI by diluting the bacteria in the urine. Most experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, but if you are physically active during the day your body is likely to require even more water.
Children have long been encouraged by their mothers to eat their carrots — and for a reason. Carrots, which store a goldmine of nutrients, are a great way to give yourself a health boost. Because of their high concentration of beta-carotene, carrots are also an important vegetable to include in your diet if you are prone to getting urinary tract infections. Carrots with the deepest orange color typically contain the highest levels of beta-carotene. When buying carrots, it is also advisable to choose organically grown produce whenever possible as conventionally grown carrots often contain high levels of pesticides and other chemicals.
Cinnamon has a long history. Since ancient times, it has been used as a spice as well as a medicine, and was at one point considered more precious than gold. Early civilizations recognized its anti-bacterial properties while the Egyptians used it in embalming. During the Middle Ages, it was thought to help patients with the Bubonic Plague. Modern research has found cinnamon to have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cinnamon has also been shown to suppress the bacteria that cause most urinary tract infections in women.
#7: Yoghurt Containing Probiotics
Yoghurt containing live cultures of probiotic bacteria has long been used as a folk remedy to treat a wide range of ailments. Now new research suggests that the probiotic bacteria in yoghurt may also be effective at preventing UTIs. Finnish researchers found that women who had fermented dairy products containing probiotic bacteria three times a week were about 80% less likely to have a recurring urinary tract infection than those who ate these foods less than once a week. Increasing your intake of cultured yoghurt may be particularly helpful if you have recently been taking antibiotics for a UTI as antibiotics are known to destroy probiotic bacteria in the intestines.
Some nutritionally oriented healthcare professionals recommend the root of the horseradish plant to women who are prone to getting urinary tract infections. Horseradish contains a pungent chemical called allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) which has been shown to kill a range of bacteria, including the E. coli bacteria which may cause urinary tract infections. Horseradish adds a nice kick to scrambled eggs, salads, and vegetable dishes.
In traditional folk medicine, rosehips have been popularly used to prevent a number of ailments, including UTIs. Rosehips, which have a tangy taste similar to cranberries, can be eaten fresh or used in jams and pies. In some countries, like Sweden, they are also used in soups and stews. Keep in mind, though, that before you can consume rosehips the outer fleshy part of each orb must be removed because of the fine hairs they contain. Further, some varieties are known to have strong laxative properties.
Eating more kale is a great way to give yourself a health boost and to decrease your risk of recurring UTIs. While most green leafy vegetables are known to contain significant amounts of beta-carotene, kale is literally packed with this anti-UTI carotenoid (kale contains ten times the beta-carotene of broccoli). Young leaves of this green leafy vegetable can be eaten raw, for example in salads. Kale can also be transformed into a healthy warm dish by sautéing the leaves and mixing them with chopped onions, crushed garlic and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.