Did you know that what you eat can make a difference in your propensity to get a UTI? There are certain foods you can avoid and some you can embrace if you struggle with recurrent UTIs.
Foods to prevent UTIs
If you suffer from frequent UTIs, it might not seem fair to be plagued with one UTI after another while your best friend, who lives the same lifestyle as you, coasts through life without a single one.
There are some factors, for example, genetics, that is out of our hands when it comes to determining why one person is more susceptible to frequent UTIs than another person. In a study reported by the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that our diets are more linked to our UTIs than previously thought.
The scientists looked at urine samples from individuals who suffer from frequent UTIs vs. urine of individuals who don’t and they found two main differences:
- Ph levels of urine
- The presence of Siderocalin, a protein that is known to control bacterial growth
Our bodies produce a protein called siderocalin which limits bacterial growth in our urine by depriving bacteria of iron, a crucial nutrient bacteria need to grow. Siderocalin does this by using compounds from our diet to bind to iron. This prevents iron from binding to bacteria which limit bacterial growth.
Scientists also found siderocalin is better at binding to iron in a neutral Ph setting. The Ph of our urine is greatly affected by the foods we eat. This means our diet can significantly influence the success or failure of bacterial growth in our urine.
What you should eat to avoid UTIs
Reach for polyphenols, a specific type of antioxidant that is converted into those very helpful compounds that bind iron, stopping it from fueling bacterial growth. Blueberries and dark chocolate are an excellent source of polyphenol antioxidants. (5 foods that fight UTI’s)
Another study also shows Vitamin A helps with reducing the risk of recurrent UTIs. Here are some examples of Vitamin A packed veggies:
- Sweet potatoes
All are packed with Vitamin A and are great foods in general to promote a healthy immune system. Recently I have been cooking a sweet potato scramble because it's fast, healthy, delicious and UTI fighting. It's also perfect for breakfast lunch or dinner.
Ingredients (serves one)
- 1 sweet potato
- 1-2 eggs
- ¼ medium onion
- Handful of mushrooms, any type works
- Mixed greens
- Feta cheese
Start by dicing onion and mushroom with either oil or butter and let them saute until golden brown. While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, peel and shred the sweet potato and add it to the pan. Let everything cook for a few minutes and add one or two eggs into the pan once the sweet potato becomes soft and fragrant. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Once the eggs are cooked serve put over a bed of fresh mixed greens of your choice. I like a combo of lettuce, kale, and spinach. This last part is completely optional, but I really think it makes the dish by topping it off with avocado, feta cheese, cilantro and drizzle of lime. If you want to bump up the protein factor for dinner just prepare chicken or tofu on the side and serve with the scramble.