Drink juice, eat yogurt to avoid bladder infections

March 18, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Drink juice, eat yogurt to avoid bladder infections

Women who are plagued by frequent episodes of painful urinary tract infections may get relief from simple changes in their diet.

Investigators based in Finland discovered that women who regularly drink fresh juices and eat yogurt and cheese may be less likely than others to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Women who drank at least one daily glass of fresh juice--either freshly squeezed or from concentrate, with no additional sweeteners--were 34% less likely to have experienced a recent UTI. Women appeared especially protected from UTIs if they drank juices made from berries.

Women who reported eating milk products that contain helpful microbes known as probiotic bacteria--such as yogurt and cheese--at least three times each week were almost 80% less likely to have recently developed a UTI than women who ate similar foods less than once per week.

Dietary habits seem to be an important risk factor for UTI recurrence in fertile women, and dietary guidance could be a first step toward prevention. The study is based on surveys of the eating habits of 139 women who had developed a UTI within two weeks prior, and 185 women who had not experienced UTIs within the past five years. Study participants' average age was 30.

UTIs can be caused by bacteria that migrate from the stool. Foods that modify the stool's bacterial content may therefore influence the risk of UTIs. Popular in Europe and increasingly in Canada and the US, probiotics are foods that contain living cultures of "good" bacteria.

People have ascribed many benefits to eating or drinking these foods, including the ability to prevent urinary tract infections. Previous research has also shown that drinking cranberry juice helps ward off repeat episodes of UTIs.

Plants contain certain antioxidants that may help protect them against bacterial infections; these substances may also shield people who eat certain fruits and vegetables from infection as well.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.