Vaginal Health

Eat your way to a healthy vagina

Suffering from UTIs, yeast infections or dryness? Pull up a pew.

By Deirdre Fogarty
While vaginal health may not be something that's talked about very often, it can be affected by the foods you're eating, every day.
Yeast infections and thrush, are, for the most part, unavoidable; close to 75 per cent of women will be affected at some point.
Being overweight can significantly affect your likelihood of infection, so maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is an easy, everyday way to protect yourself.
But, even then, it's common for women to experience the burning irritation and thick discharge associated with a yeast infection; this is often caused by re-infection from the gut, where yeast otherwise lives in harmony with all of the other bacteria.
Tucking into probiotics will make it just that little bit harder for yeast to stick around – as will steering clear of yeast-heavy foods like bread, beer and some cheeses – so load up on sauerkraut, kefir and miso to keep your gut ticking over.
Cranberry juice
This one you've probably heard of, although no-one can quite agree on whether the results can be scientifically proven or not.
Either way, women the world over swear by cranberry juice for not only combatting urinary tract infections (UTIs), but for preventing them from reoccurring.
The theory is that an active ingredient in cranberry juice called proanthocyanidins stops bacteria from sticking around the walls of the bladder, which can lead to inflammation and infection.
And while there have been studies both proving and disproving the effectiveness of cranberry juice to fight infection, there's certainly no harm in trying, right?
A surprise addition, perhaps, but garlic has been shown to fight the good fight against a number of UTI strains, including some multi-drug resistant ones.
If you suffer from vaginal dryness – which occurs most commonly post-menopause but does affect about 17 per cent of women pre-menopause – it could be worth upping your soy intake.
Foods like tempeh, tofu and edamame are rich in plant oestrogens, which bind to oestrogen receptor sites in the body and can prevent vaginal tissue becoming thin and dry.
This story originally appeared on Food To Love.

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