Best food to prevent UTI

Urine pH: 3 Main Secrets of UTI Prevention Diet

A UTI prevention diet alters certain processes in your body contributing to your bladder health. So if you needed more reasons to switch gears in 2018 and eat healthier, here is one more: you can improve your chances to stay UTI-free by making adjustments in your menu. And if you are fighting off a UTI then definitely take a note of the products that are good for your bladder.

#1 Urine pH & UTI prevention diet

Let’s face it: we are living in the “post-antibiotic” era when antibiotics prove to be less effective to cure infections due to bacteria becoming more resistant to the drugs. Instead of figuring out how else we can kill E. coli researchers are now trying to reverse-engineer why certain people seem to be in a cycle of repeated UTI infections while others never suffer from them.

There are couple studies out there (for example this one and this one) that analyzed and compared the urine of healthy people and urine of those who had repeated UTIs. Scientists also introduced E. coli into the samples of the healthy folks and saw that the bacteria was growing slower in the urine of healthy individuals when compared to the urine of the chronic UTI sufferers.

After looking at all possible factors the researchers have found that urine pH was a major contributing factor defining if the bacteria will thrive in a bladder or remains dormant.

High pH levels are responsible for promoting a beneficial environment in your bladder, while low pH helps pathogenic bacteria to grow faster.

Your diet is directly impacting your urine pH. Foods that make your urine alkaline form a core for a UTI prevention diet.

Coffee should not be your drink if you are aiming to prevent UTI with diet
Coffee might help you with your energy level but is also known to increase pH.

Wait, what’s pH level?

pH is a measure that basically tells you how many hydrogen ions are present in a certain environment. pH is measured for various purposes and it is known to affect how bacteria behave,  and either they will thrive or stay dormant.

Too much hydrogen ions and the environment becomes acidic, too little and it’s called alkaline. Normal pH of the bladder is slightly acidic. The more acidic is an environment in your bladder, the easier it’s for E. coli to grow and multiply.

  • A neutral pH is 7.0
  • Acidic – Lower pH level (less than 7.0, more positive hydrogen ions)
  • Alkaline – Higher Ph level (more than 7.0, less positive hydrogen ions)

On the other hand, the more alkaline is your bladder, the less active E. coli. On top of it, helpful enzymes that fight inflammation and support healthy bladder microclimate are also more active in an alkaline environment. Therefore the main purpose of UTI prevention diet is to make your urine alkaline.

Lemons to prevent UTI
Even though lemons are acidic to taste they lower your body’s acidity once consumed and therefore could help to prevent UTIs!

How do I know which food is good?

It is easy to confuse “sour” and “acidic” when thinking about food in terms of how it tastes, however, the taste of the food has nothing to do with how it is broken down by our bodies.

Simply put, certain foods and drinks help to create more hydrogen ions, while others decrease the number of hydrogen ions.

Lemon is a great example of being a highly alkaline food even though before our body process them they are acidic! Bottom line the pH of the food before you eat it is less important than what it turns into once it’s inside your body. The easiest way to make the right choices to prevent UTI with diet is to get familiar with the food lists below.

Bad (increases urine acidity)

Avoid these for a UTI prevention diet:

  • Starchy grains such as wheat, rice
  • Sugars, syrups, and sweets
  • Certain dairy products

    Meat and bread are considered "bad food" for your UTI prevention efforts
    Unfortunately, the tastiest food seems to be the least healthy option when preventing UTI with diet.
  • Fish
  • Processed foods
  • Fresh meats and processed meats
  • Sodas and other sweetened beverages
  • Coffee
  • High-protein foods and supplements
  • Many prescription drugs

Good (makes your urine more alkaline)

Eggs are healthy and help to keep alkaline pH
UTI prevention diet thankfully includes eggs

Some alkalizing foods and beverages you can incorporate into your UTI prevention diet are:

  • Eggs
  • Soy, such as miso, soybeans, tofu, and tempeh
  • Unsweetened yogurt and milk
  • Raw honey
  • Most vegetables, including potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • Most fruits
  • Herbs and spices, excluding salt, mustard, and nutmeg
  • Pseudocereals such as flax, millet, quinoa, and amaranth
  • Herbal teas

Secret #2: Minerals and Supplements

The alkalinity of your urine is also affected by your intake of certain minerals such as:

  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

Besides taking supplements you can also consume more fruits and veggies that contain high amounts of these minerals such as:

  • apples, apricots, bananas, berries, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, cantaloupe, cherries, figs, grapes, kiwi, mangoes, watermelon, honeydew melon, nectarines, pineapples, pear and tangerines
  • asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, chard, cauliflower, collard greens, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsnips, peppers, pumpkin, turnips, sprouts, sweet potatoes, and watercress.

Other useful supplements that you could include in your diet are:

Secret #3: Your blood type and your diet

Do you remember that popular in the 90s “blood type diet”? It’s not a complete hoax!

Interestingly, certain enzymes (called IAP) that are super helpful in keeping your bladder healthy differ across blood types. Blood type O and B have the highest levels of IAP while type A shows the lowest.

If you have blood type A make sure to pay extra attention to your UTI prevention diet and help your body to keep your bladder alkaline. Basically, you need to avoid meat as much as possible and double down on veggies and grains. Type O should favor fish, veggies, and grains. While type B needs to avoid chicken, wheat, and corn.

When you might benefit from acidic urine

If your doctor prescribes you a preventive antibiotic with Methenamine, they would ask you to maintain an acidic urine level, which is contrary to what a healthy urine is, but is required for the antibiotic to work. I find it ironic and, in a way a vicious cycle.

Do you know your blood type? Have you heard about alkaline diet before? Let me know in your comments below.

32 thoughts on “Urine pH: 3 Main Secrets of UTI Prevention Diet”

  1. Hi there, I would be grateful for your comments on an article I read yesterday, by an eminent urologist. This urologist sees a lot of patients with UTI’s and states that one of the key triggers for these infections is alkaline urine because “…this environment is ideal for the bacteria to thrive”. He goes on to recommend taking 1g of Vitamin C daily to avoid getting such infections because the Vitamin C makes the urine mildly acidic which in turn increases the levels of an antimicrobial protein called siderocalin, found naturally in urine. This protein makes the environment less favourable to bad bacteria and reduces the risk of infection. I was surprised by this advice as it is contrary to everything I have read which implies that acidic urine provides a favourable environment for bacteria to thrive!

    Best wishes


    1. Anastasia Visotsky

      Hi Mary 🙂 here is my post about Vitamin C for UTI 🙂 It does not make urine acidic, not even when you take a whole gram of it per day. Please, link the article you read here and we can check the resources he is quoting. As to siderocalin, I haven’t seen it linked to ascorbic acid in any research papers, and it seems to be more present in low-acidity (alkaline) urine as well: “As a result researchers investigated how the body naturally fights bacterial infections. They cultured E. coli in urine samples and noted major differences between them. The urine samples that prevented bacterial growth promoted more activity of siderocalin a key protein that the body naturally makes in response to infection. Previous research has suggested that it helps the body fight infections by depriving bacteria of iron a mineral necessary for bacterial growth. Of all the factors assessed the only one that was significantly different between the two groups was the pH of the urine. The urine samples that were less acidic (closer to a neutral pH) demonstrated an increased activity of siderocalin and were more effective at restricting bacterial growth than those with higher acidity.”

  2. I noticed that you mentioned most fruits are ok except for the ones previously mentioned, but I couldn’t find any previously mentioned. Do you mind elaborating on which ones to avoid? Thanks so much for all of your help! My husband and I are excited to try out these new things!

    1. Anastasia Visotsky

      Oh, great catch! I can’t figure out what I had in mind back then when I wrote it, I’ll check my notes and will make edits if find anything relevant. For now I’ll just remove this reference :))

  3. Thank you for your information. I have been suffering with a recurring UTI since November, 2017. I am at my wits end! The doctor keeps putting me on microbid and the UTI still keeps coming back…
    However, I already eat what you say to eat –so not sure what else to do.
    I take Mannose-D, probiotics, Magnesium glycerinate. My regular doctor told me to stop calcium as it is now linked to heart problems.

    1. Jennifer Harper

      Hi Robyne,
      I also have been having a recurrent UTI . I’m now going to see a urologist. I have had UTI’s on and off since March 2017. I just got one again, and even after 7 days of Macrobid, I still have an infection. Perhaps you need to see a urologist? I have taken D Mannose too. I think that helped, but I’m still under the weather like you. I hope they figure it out for you! I’m in the process of getting mine solved….because it is still not solved. 🙁 Not to be gross, but I have an irritable bowel disease which causes you to do number 2 more. I think that makes me more prone to UTI’s. But anyway, my diet is healthy except for I do chew lots of gum with artificial sweeteners. I am going to basically cut it out. Do you eat artificial sweeteners? I guess that can affect the bladder. Also there is something called Fosfomycin that is a ONE dose and it kills UTI. I’ve used that once and it did work, but then it came again. Is your urine PH level normal? Mine is not. It’s too high. I hope you get well soon! I think perhaps a urologist can help you? I’ll write more when I have more answers! Hang in there! 😀

      1. Hello, your urine ph will be a high number during infection. So, if you have a uti now and ph is high that s normal.

  4. Nancy Bennett

    Hi Anastasia, First off, thank you for this blog. Interesting about the blood type, which I never knew, I’m a type O and I’ve had UTI’s all my life, some severe…..My best alkaline food is asparagus, I try to swallow a couple tablespoons of cooked pureed asparagus every day or in a soup. Since I’ve been taking Magnesium L-Threonate and ReMag for another problem (A-Fib) and a low magnesium level, I find that my UTI’s are fewer, but unfortunately I still get them

    1. Thanks for the note, Nancy! I know, I constantly uncover more interesting things, wild to think that four years ago I thought I’ll run out of topics 🙂 I encourage you to think about UTI holistically and if possible, seek help from a naturopathic doctor or a urogynecologist. There are just so many things one should take care when suffering from a chronic illness. Best wishes,

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