When you say the words ‘urinary tract’ to most women they instantly think ‘infection/UTI’, and this isn’t that surprising considering that they are the second most common infection in the body, and much more common in females than males. However the urinary tract isn’t just responsible for removing excess water, it helps detoxify our body and keep our blood healthy, so it is kinda important that we look after it.
The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters and the urethra. It is responsible for filtering out any waste product that may be present in your bloodstream, as well as helping to regulate the balance of fluid and salt in your body. Just like all the other systems of your body, your urinary system requires specific nutrients in order to function at its optimal level.
Antioxidants work by locating and eliminating free radicals from the body in order to prevent them from damaging cells. However there is a specific type of antioxidant, called ‘polyphenols’ that have a more specific task. Polyphenols work by preventing bacteria from attaching itself to the food it needs to multiply and create a UTI infection.
Fortunately there are some specific foods, high in polyphenols, that can help support urinary health, especially when we are currently experiencing a UTI.
- Cranberry Juice (unsweetened)
- Dark Chocolate
- Black tea
Another helpful food is natural yogurt. It works by supporting the bacteria busting compounds found in your digestive tract, which in turn supports your urinary tract.
There are also some foods that will actually lower your urinary pH, which means they will work against you if you are experiencing a UTI. These include:
- Animal proteins (so basically meat)
- Soft drink and other drinks containing phosphoric acid
- And large doses of Vitamin C (Vitamin C supplements - However foods with vitamin C should be fine)
Of course proper hygiene also helps prevent UTI’s, as well as a healthy balanced diet. If you are experiencing discomfort, it is important that you visit you GP so that you can get on top of it before any infection spreads to your kidneys!