You may not think that what you eat has any bearing on your urinary tract or kidney health, but the truth is that your diet can actually have a big impact on your urological health. Dr Erik Goluboff takes a look at the link between diet and urological health and some tips for eating for better urinary health.
The Link Between Diet and Urological Health
It’s no secret that what you eat can affect your overall health, but you may not realize that your diet can also impact your urological health. Some foods and drinks are more likely to lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) or kidney stones, while others can help reduce your risk of these problems.
Here’s a look at some of the most important ways that diet can impact your urinary health:
-Citrus fruits. Foods like lemons, limes, and oranges are rich in citric acid, which can increase the risk of kidney stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones, limiting your intake of citrus fruits may help reduce your risk.
-Tomatoes. Like citrus fruits, tomatoes are also high in citric acid. However, they also contain lycopene, an antioxidant that may actually help protect against UTIs.
-Berries. Many berries—including strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries—contain flavonoids, which are pigment molecules that act as antioxidants. These flavonoids may help prevent UTIs by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract.
-Green tea. Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract and reduce the risk of UTIs.
-Water. Drinking plenty of fluids is one of the best ways to keep your urinary system healthy. Water flushes out toxins and helps to keep urine diluted, which reduces the risk of UTIs.
-Cranberry juice or supplements. Cranberries contain compounds that help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder, making them less likely to cause an infection. While cranberry juice can be a good option, be sure to opt for unsweetened versions as added sugar can increase the risk of UTIs. Cranberry supplements may also be an effective way to prevent UTIs.
-Unsweetened probiotic yogurt. Eating probiotic yogurt, which contains healthy bacteria, may help prevent UTIs by promoting a balanced bacterial environment in the urinary tract. Be sure to choose unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars that could increase your risk of infection.
-Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains the compound epicatechin, which may help prevent UTIs by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. Choose dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa for maximum benefit.
-Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds, are high in fiber, which can help prevent kidney stones by reducing the amount of calcium in the urine.
-Leafy greens. Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are high in oxalate, a compound that can increase the risk of kidney stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones, limiting your intake of leafy greens may help reduce your risk.
As you can see, diet can have a big impact on urinary health. By making some simple changes to your diet, you can help reduce your risk of UTIs and kidney stones and enjoy better urinary health overall.