The Best and Worst Foods for Vaginal pH

3 min read

Diet and vaginal pH

Diet plays a big role in our overall health, and our vaginal pH. If you're interested to explore other vaginal health topics and how that relates to urinary health, you can view other articles here.

When you’re sitting down to eat dinner, you probably don’t stop to think, “How will this meal affect my vagina?” But science shows that nutrition plays a major role in vaginal health. The foods we eat can impact our vaginal pH, making us more alkaline or acidic below the belt. When you’re outside of the normal pH range of 3.8 to 4.5, it can cause symptoms like funky odor, itching, and unusual discharge, and leave you more prone to infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV) and UTIs.

So, keeping your vaginal pH in balance is super important! But how do you do that through your diet? Here’s a look at the best and worst foods for hooha health.

The vagina naturally contains "good" and "bad" bacteria. It's important to have your diet reintroduce more "good" bacteria to keep you in balance.

Best foods for vaginal pH

Probiotic-rich foods:

You’ve probably heard of probiotic supplements, but did you know you can get good bugs from your diet too? Eating probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and plain yogurt can help balance vaginal pH by introducing healthy, protective bacteria. Vaginas naturally contain loads of bacteria—both “good,” protective strains and “bad,” infection-causing strains. The good guys help keep the bad guys in check, preventing them from multiplying out of control and causing vaginal infections. So, eating foods that support that balance sets you up for optimal vaginal health.

Prebiotic-rich foods:

In order to thrive, good bacteria need food to feast on—and prebiotic fibers are their favorite snacks. Like probiotics, you can get prebiotics in supplement form. But it’s more effective to get them through your diet. This is why health experts recommend eating prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus. Consuming prebiotics daily gives healthy vaginal bacteria a better chance at flourishing. Ideally, eat these foods alongside a vaginal probiotic.

Anti-inflammatory foods:

Inflammation is pretty much at the root of all disease and infection, including vaginal problems like yeast infections and BV. When the vagina is irritated or pH is out of whack, you can experience an inflammatory response that manifests in all the unpleasant symptoms you associate with these infections. Eating anti-inflammatory foods like berries, fatty fish, avocados, and broccoli is a great way to soothe the body’s response and fight inflammation from the inside out.

Healthy fats:

Fats were vilified for years, but they’re an essential part of a balanced diet, especially for women. Healthy fats like nuts, avocado, and olive oil help regulate your cholesterol and keep estrogen levels in balance, which in turn keeps vaginal bacteria and pH in check. (And yes, we’ve mentioned avocado twice now. Consider this your free pass to go crazy on the guac.)

Eating a diet primarily of whole foods and grains is ideal for overall health. However, certain foods are particularly troublesome when it comes to vaginal pH.

Worst foods for vaginal pH

Sugary foods:

Unlike fats, sugar has a bad wrap for a good reason. Among other health issues, it contributes to the overgrowth of bad bacteria, which can throw off vaginal pH. Minimizing sugary foods, beverages, and sweeteners is good for your overall health, and definitely for your vagina.

Alcohol:

Cutting back on the booze is a smart move too. It’s inflammatory, and, like sugar, can disrupt your vaginal pH and lead to a whole host of problems. If you’re experiencing yeast infections or any other chronic health issue, it’s especially important to reduce alcohol intake to give your body a chance to rebound.

Meats and dairy containing hormones:

Animals bred for consumption are often pumped with artificial hormones—or xenoestrogens—which mimic natural estrogen. Consuming animal products that contain these fake hormones can be incredibly disruptive to our hormonal health. When you’re buying meat or dairy products, try to opt for hormone-free options, or choose USDA-certified organic products.

Processed foods:

We love an easy meal from a box as much as the next millennial. But super processed foods usually contain loads of problematic ingredients that can depress the immune system and leave your body more prone to a bad bacterial takeover. Sticking with whole foods as much as possible—or opting for minimally processed, organic items—is the best move for your overall health.

 

Our vaginas deserve the best. Treating them with love and care includes eating a balanced diet that supports pH. Next time you’re heading to the grocery store, think about what your vagina wants you to eat tonight.


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