To celebrate National Nutrition month, this is a continuation of our series on nutrition as it relates to urology.

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, can be painful, with symptoms that include back pain, abdominal pain, and a burning sensation during urination. Though existing UTIs typically need to be treated with medications, avoiding future UTIs may be as easy as changing your diet. What foods should you eat to keep your urinary tract healthy and help to prevent UTIs?

Foods Containing “Good” Bacteria

Though you may not be familiar with the terms Lactobacilli and Bifidobactria, you have probably heard of them referred to as “good” bacteria. These are the kinds of bacteria that actually strengthen your urinary tract, enabling it to fight the bad, infection causing bacteria associated with UTIs. You can make sure that you get your good bacteria by eating yogurt and other fermented products. A convenient and delicious snack that comes in many flavors, yogurt is easy to add to your daily diet. Enjoy a yogurt with berries or granola, in a smoothie, or straight from the container.

Foods High in Vitamin C

What we commonly call Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, which can reduce the acidity level in urine, helping to prevent UTIs. Many foods contain Vitamin C, including oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, broccoli, red berries, spinach and cauliflower to name just a few. Starting your day with orange juice or including vegetables in your salad at lunchtime will help you get the Vitamin C you necessary to keep your urinary tract healthy.

Cranberries and Blueberries to Promote Urinary Tract Health

You may have heard that drinking cranberry juice helps to combat UTIs, but did you know why? Cranberries and blueberries contain plant compounds called proanthocyanidins, which prevent infection-causing E. coli from attaching to the urinary tract cells. When they can’t attach, they can’t stay and wreak havoc in your system with a painful UTI. Make sure to include some of these berries or their juices in your diet to keep your system functioning at its best.

Limit Sugar for a Healthy Urinary Tract

There have always been many reasons to limit the sugar in your diet, and now keeping a healthy urinary tract is on the list. Too much sugar promotes bacterial breeding in your urinary tract, so limiting your sugar will weaken the breeding ground and help avoid UTIs. It’s another reason to think twice before reaching for a sugary sweet like cookies, candy or a sweetened beverage. Substituting water for soda can help to keep your sugar intake in moderation and keep your urinary health on track.

The foods that we choose to put in our bodies have many consequences, some positive, some negative. Learning about nutrition and making smart food choices is a great way to keep your urinary tract and your whole body in top operating condition. If you would like to learn more about nutrition as it relates to your urinary tract health, contact your urologist today.