Can your diet prevent urinary tract infections?
Why is it some women suffer from recurring urinary tract infections
(UTIs) while others are spared this painful condition? The answer may
lie in differences in their diets. For almost a decade we’ve
known cranberry and cranberry–lingonberry juices are helpful
in preventing recurring urinary infections. Now research from Finland
reveals that a diet including fruit juices and fermented milk products
may be the key to prevention.
Through a questionnaire, researchers gathered information about the
dietary habits of 139 women who were recently diagnosed with UTIs, and
185 women who had not had one in the past five years. Women who drank
at least one glass of juice daily were 34% less likely to develop a UTI
than women who did not. Berry juice was more protective than other juices.
However, the total volume of liquid a woman drank daily did not have
an effect on the risk of developing an infection, contrary to a common
In addition, women who ate yogurt and cheese or other fermented milk
products more than three times a week were nearly 80% less likely to
experience a urinary infection than women who ate such foods less than
once a week.
Bacteria from the digestive tract can cause UTIs and since dietary factors
affect these bacteria, changes in diet are a logical solution. Berries
are rich in flavonols, a chemical plants produce in response to bacterial
infection. The researchers believe flavonols may kill microorganisms
or suppress their growth in humans as well. Fermented milk products contain
lactobacilli, beneficial bacteria that can inhabit the digestive tract
and replace the coliform bacteria responsible for UTIs.
If you are prone to urinary tract infections, incorporating berry juice
and fermented milk products into your diet may be a simple way to help
reduce your risk of infection.
June 2003 Update
Back to Previous Page