Foods & Fluids Good for Urinary Tract Infection

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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused when bacteria gets into the urinary tract, which is made up of kidneys, bladder, urethra and ureters. According to the Mayo Clinic, the entire urinary system is prone to infection; however, the most common locations of infection are the bladder and urethra. While antibiotics are often necessary to deal with a bacterial infection, eating certain foods and drinking plenty of fluids can help reduce discomfort and speed up healing according to the Mayo Clinic.

A glass of cranberry juice.
A glass of cranberry juice.

Water

When suffering from a urinary tract infection, it is important to drink plenty of water to dilute your urine, which helps prevent kidney stones or further infection. Netwellness.org indicates that kidney stones are caused when the uric acid becomes too concentrated, thus forming tiny crystals that grow to become painful stones in the kidneys. Increasing fluid intake, specifically water, helps to minimize a buildup of uric acid as well as flush the urinary system to prevent a buildup of bacteria on the bladder or ureters. The Mayo Clinic suggests against drinking beverages that contain caffeine and citrus juice because the ingredients may cause irritation to the bladder. Mothernature.com suggests drinking 64 ounces of water each day for those less than 50 years of age, and 80 ounces of water for those over 50 since there is more frequent fluid loss.

A woman drinks a glass of water.
A woman drinks a glass of water.

Cranberries

For those prone to UTI, cranberries are a significant treatment and preventive to a urinary infection according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic also says that when suffering from a UTI, the first form of defense should be antibiotics to remove harmful bacteria; however, cranberry is helpful in keeping bacterial off of the bladder lining. Mothernature.com and certified nutritionist Cherie Calbom, M.S. suggest that those who suffer from frequent infections may reduce the occurrence of UTI by drinking 16 ounces of fresh or organic cranberry juice every day. It is important to avoid cranberry juice cocktail juice, since there is too much sugar in the formula to be beneficial for warding off bacteria.

A batch of fresh cranberries.
A batch of fresh cranberries.

Other Foods

In addition to drinking cranberry juice, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) suggests eating whole cranberries for their bacteria-busting effect. The UMM also recommends eating blueberries, since their antioxidant levels and effects on bacteria in the bladder are similar to cranberry effects. Additional food selections recommended by the UMM include foods with antioxidants like fruits (cherries) and vegetables (bell peppers, squash). High-fiber foods are suggested to reduce symptoms including whole grains, root vegetables, oats and the natural fiber psyllium husk, which is found in natural food stores. Yogurt, which contains the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, is also beneficial in maintaining healthy bacteria levels.

A bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup.
A bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup.

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