7 Food Remedies for Urinary Infections
Urinary tract infections are responsible for about 10 million doctors’ visits every year. It is more common in women, with 1 in 5 women experiencing a urinary tract infection at least once in her life. The chances that a woman will experience a urinary tract infection at least once in her life are 50%. Usually once a woman has experienced a UTI for the first time, the infection will recur in as little as six months.
Symptoms of urinary tract infection include pain or a burning sensation while urinating, a dramatic increase in the frequency of the need to urinate often accompanied by urgency, blood or pus in the urine and cramps in the lower abdomen. Some people may also present symptoms consistent with infection, such as body malaise and fever.
Most urinary tract infections will require treatment with antibiotics. Especially in cases where UTIs frequently recur, a patient may eventually develop drug resistance. To minimize the need for antibiotics it is important to supplement medical treatment with home remedies and eat food that may help ease the symptoms of the infection without having to resort to an increase in antibiotic dosage.
1. Citrus Fruits
Eating citrus fruits and other types of fruit that are rich in vitamin C on a regular basis can help you stave off urinary tract infections. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and will be able to help your cells stay in tip top shape. It is also a popular immune booster and will help your body fight off any foreign bodies, especially ones that may cause an infection.
Vitamin C may also make your urine more acidic, therefore preventing bacterial growth in your urinary tract.
A bonus for the ladies: vitamin C can make your vaginal environment a tiny bit more acidic – this prevents the overgrowth of Candida in the area and helps prevent yeast infections.
Fruits and veggies are still the best source of vitamin C, but supplements will do just fine.
2. Cut Back On Sugar
Most bacteria generally feed on sugar molecules. To prevent the breeding of bacteria in your urinary tract, cut back on excess sugar you are MOST LIKELY consuming from sodas, cookies and other processed foods (sweet or otherwise!).
3. Garlic and Onions
There is no solid evidence proving that garlic and onions can indeed prevent or help alleviate urinary tract infections specifically, but both types of food have been found to have antibacterial properties.
- Onions are quite rich in fructo-oligosaccharides, long-chain sugars that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria that can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
- Garlic is rich in organo-sulfur compounds: cysteine sulfoxide and gamma-glutamylcysteine. These compounds have both antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties.
Eating probiotics (probiotic filled yogurt and yogurt drinks) can help regulate the bacterial flora in our bodies. Probiotics contain lactobacillum and other good bacteria and when these bacteria thrive in our systems they crowd out and starve bad bacteria (i.e. E. coli – the most common cause of UTIs).
Most yogurt products are also quite acidic, so it also prevents the growth of bad bacteria in the body by making the environment hostile for them.
The effectiveness of this fruit against UTIs has actually been proven clinically. Several researchers from all of over the world have found that while cranberry fruits, cranberry juice or cranberry supplements may not be as effective as antibiotics at curing UTIs, they are a great way to prevent UTIs and keep antibiotic dosages low.
A 2010 study presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston confirmed the medical value of cranberries. According to the study, cranberries have a compound that escapes degradation in the stomach and travels through the urinary tract to be passed along with urine. These compounds have been found to prevent E. coli from attaching to cells in the urinary tract, effectively flushing them out of the system.
While fresh cranberries might be the best way to fight infection, supplements and cranberry juice cocktails (arguably the cheapest and most convenient ways to have cranberries) are also quite effective.
6. Water and Baking Soda
Most doctors would most likely advice against it, but grannies all over the U.S. swear by this home remedy.
Apparently, drinking a diluted solution of baking soda and water can help alleviate the pain you experience while urinating. Simply add a teaspoon of baking soda in a tall glass of warm water and drink.
Let us be clear though that simply drinking this solution will in no way resolve your infection.
Lastly, one of the best ways to prevent a urinary tract infection or speed up your recovery is to drink as much water as you can. The more water you drink the better your chances are you’ll flush the infection out of your system. Three liters of water every day is ideal.