10 Nutrition Tips to Support UTI Prevention

by Amy Castle

It is essential to seek the support of a qualified health care practitioner at the onset of UTI symptoms to provide appropriate treatment, and in the case of recurrent UTI’s to discuss a treatment plan to support prevention. With that, here are 10 nutrition tips that can help support and prevent a UTI.

  1. Hydrationmany women report dehydration as a trigger for UTI onset so prioritise hydration every day. While individual requirements differ, aim for approximately 2 litres per day for women, and ensure you increase this on hot days and if sweating. 
  2. Caffeine containing beverages can be  irritative to the urinary tract, so are best kept minimal for those with recurrent symptoms. Drink mainly plain water, and include some caffeine free herbal teas. Green tea is an exception here – if well tolerated as it may provide some gentle antimicrobial support.
  3. Cranberries contain unique proanthocyanidins  (PACs) that can assist in reducing E. coli bacterial adherence to the bladder wall. If you consume cranberry juice ensure that it is free of added sugar or sweeteners eg. Lakewood. Supplemental forms of cranberry with specified PAC levels may provide a more therapeutic  effect than juice, and may be recommended by your practitioner as part of a prevention plan. 
  4. Consuming berries (especially blueberries), pomegranate & raw cacao may support prevention of bacterial proliferation through a variety of different means such as reducing bacterial adhesion and reducing biofilm formation.
  5. Eat fermented foods eg. organic  plain yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kim chee.  While fermented foods can’t replace a well researched probiotic strain for supporting women’s urogenital health, regular exposure to food based probiotics may prove useful in supporting microbial defences. 
  6. Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates – refined sugar provides easy food for UTI causing microbes like E.coli.
  7. Keep alcohol minimal and infrequent (or avoid completely) and especially avoid sugar laden mixed drinks.  
  8. Consume fresh raw garlic regularly if well tolerated – add 1-2 crushed cloves to a salad or a meal when cooking is finished. Raw crushed or chopped garlic contains allicin – a powerful antimicrobial ally that may help to reduce E.coli growth, whilst sparing beneficial bacteria.  
  9. Consume a variety of whole foods daily, to support a healthy gut microbiota which in turn may support a healthy urogenital microbiota. Aim for 40 + different plant foods per week, and ensure you increase your intake of foods high in polyphenols which exert a ‘prebiotic like’ effect in the gut (high levels of these beneficial compounds are generally found in plant foods with a red or purple colour). Pomegranates, berries, purple onion, purple carrots, purple potatoes, red & black quinoa, red & black rice, black olives & black beans are all rich sources of polyphenols.
  10. Stay well hydrated and eat a high fibre diet to keep bowels moving regularly. Include a a good balance of soluble (oats, chia seeds, black beans, carrots, flaxseeds + many more) and  insoluble fibers (wholegrains, oat bran, root veggies, legumes, fruit) Constipation can increase pressure on the bladder and at times lead to incomplete bladder emptying which may increase the risk of UTI’s.

Amy is passionate about supporting women’s urogenital health and works with both acute and chronic complex cases alike. Education and preventative strategies form an integral part of her approach to helping women, alongside safe, effective therapies designed to minimise microbiome disruptions and support recovery. Book in a consult today.

 

References:

Botto et al. 2010 ‘Dosage effect on uropathogenic Escherichia coli anti-adhesion activity in urine following consumption of cranberry powder standardized for proanthocyanidin content: a multicentric randomized double blind study,’ BMC Infectious Diseases

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2334-10-94#:~:text=Cranberry%20PAC%20extracts%20inhibited%20adhesion,%2Dadhesion%20process%20%5B7%5D.

Dubreuil, D 2020, ‘Fruit extracts to control pathogenic Escherichia coli: A sweet solution,’ Heliyon Vol 6, no. 2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7031306/

Jaryi et al. 2003 ‘Dietary factors protecting women from urinary tract infection,’

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 77, Issue 3

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/77/3/600/4689699

Guo et al. 2016, ‘Does instruction to eliminate coffee, tea, alcohol, carbonated, and artificially sweetened beverages improve lower urinary tract symptoms: A Prospective Trial,’ 

J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. Vol. 43 no. 1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4799659/

Hariri, H et al.2014 Efficient and Cost-Effective Alternative Treatment for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Interstitial Cystitis in Women: A Two-Case Report,’ 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4283390/