2 main staples of a UTI preventing diet

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that is caused by the bacteria that lives in your own gut (to be more specific, the bacteria that live in your stool). Since the bacterial composition of stools depend on what you eat, it is logical to assume that a particular diet can influence the risk of infection. Most data describing diet as a risk factor for UTI come from epidemiological and interventional trials.

The research papers that I found on PubMed describe attempts to find a correlation between diet, lifestyle, and frequency of UTI.

Here is what I have learned after reading through the results of several studies.

To reduce chances of UT recurrence you should:

  • Consume food and drinks with a certain type of probiotics (or take a supplement)
  • Eat berries (especially blueberries)

And this is why:

Include Probiotics

In one study (Influence of oral intake of S. boulardy…), that was carried out with 14 boys and 10 girls between three and eight years old, a commercial capsule or powder containing 5 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of S. boulardii was administered once a day for 5 days (Saccharomyces boulardii is actually a natural yeast, originally extracted from the lychee fruit but you can buy it as a supplement, here is an Amazon link: Jarrow Formulas Sacharomyces Boulardii & MOS, 90 Capsules).

The number of E. coli and yeast colonies was measured in the stool samples of the study group before and after the use of this supplement. Before the treatment, the mean number of E. coli colonies in g/ml stool was 384,625+/-445,744. This number decreased significantly to 6,283+/-20,283 (almost 60 times less!) after treatment. S. boulardii was not detected in stool before treatment and the number of colonies increased to 11,047+/-26,754 in g/ml stool. S. boulardii may be effective in reducing the number of E. coli colonies in the stool.

What does it mean? Well, since we know that most UTIs are caused by E. coli that is transmitted from your own gut into your urinary tract, the less E. coli bacteria you have in your gut, the better! As this study demonstrates, in just five days it is possible to significantly decrease the number of E. coli in your stool, therefore decreasing the risk of contamination. Make sure to add food rich in probiotics to your diet:

  • Kefir (sold pretty much in every supermarket now and way more potent than yogurt!)
  • Sauerkraut, kimchi and other pickled veggies (but not the ones in vinegar). They are not that high on probiotics themselves but the enzymes they produce will help to create a better environment for your body to host probiotics
  • Miso soup and tempeh
  • If you have been taking antibiotics recently, consider a concentrated delivery of probiotic with help of supplements. Both of these brands have over a thousand consumer reviews and are pretty affordable:

    Eat More Berries

    Another study found that consuming berries as a preventive measure helped women to avoid UTIs: “Most berries, especially those of the genus Vaccinium (FYI: these are blueberries!), are rich in flavonols, such as epicatechin, which is a potent inhibitor of the adhesion of coliform bacteria to human cells. Plants produce flavonols in response to microbial infection, suggesting a role for these substances in antimicrobial defense. Some fruit such as apples, cherries, and plums are rich in epicatechin, but in general, the flavonol content of berries is higher, which may explain their association with reduced UTI recurrence.”

    Interestingly enough, blueberries also contain a compound known as D-mannose, which can help prevent urinary tract infections by interfering with the ability of bacteria to adhere to the walls in the urethra and bladder. My bias is of course towards the fact that the berries help because they have naturally occurring D-mannose.

    If you are not familiar with D-mannose, please read this post.

    To sum it up, eat these berries to aid UTI prevention:

        • Blueberries
        • Cherries
        • Cranberries

    And (or) have a glass of water with D-mannose if it’s not berry season. You can buy it in many health stores (Sprouts, Whole foods etc.). The cheapest option that I have found so far is to buy it in bulk on Amazon:

    1) BulkSupplements Pure D-mannose Powder (250 grams)

    2) or a smaller size: Now Foods D-mannose Powder, 3-Ounce

    Stay healthy and let me know what works for you in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “2 main staples of a UTI preventing diet”

  1. Here you suggest eating blueberries, cherries, cranberries. But in another post you explain that cranberries are counterproductive. Which has more current evidence?

    1. Anastasia Visotsky

      Cranberries are not counterproductive, cranberry juice is. Many cranberry pills are also a waste of money. Most fresh berries are beneficial.

  2. I stumbled upon your site today and I wonder if you would help me out. I suffer from uti constantly and mainly when I have sex or when I drink too much sugary drinks. Well I developed one about 3 weeks ago, got prescribed antibiotics but it didn’t work. I’ve tried d-mannose, apple cider vinegar with baking soda, everything and I still have the urgency to pee. I’m so scared that this won’t go away, what can I do? What do you recommend.

    1. Hi Jeinmy,

      I’m so sorry to hear you are going though this! Being scared is normal in this situation :(. I was scared too. No matter how frustrating this is, let’s hope we can figure it out and find a solution.
      I would love to be able to give you an advice, but I’m not a physician. Obviously, the best route for you is to go see your doctor as soon as possible.

      Let’s think it through together:

      1) Have you been having the urgency for 3 weeks without any improvement? Or did the antibiotics help for some time? What are other symptoms?
      2) Did your doctor take a urine sample? Do you know what kind of bacteria is causing your problem?
      3) Which antibiotic have you been prescribed? Have you been treating UTIs with the antibiotics before?
      4) What do you think has triggered your UTI? Is it sex related?

      Here are couple thoughts:

      If you haven’t noticed any improvement for 3 weeks but also not developing any additional signs and symptoms, then you might not even have a UTI. Urgency to urinate could be a sign of all kinds of health issues such as Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) or overactive bladder (OAB), and there is a wide range of other diagnoses that need to be excluded by a physician. If it’s not a UTI than the urgency of course won’t go away with a standard UTI treatment.
      If there was an improvement after you started on the antibiotics, could it be that you re-infected yourself again? Did you finish all the pills as prescribed? Watch out for any flank pain, fever or flu like symptoms. If it is indeed a UTI, the bacteria if not eliminated will be trying to make it’s way up to the kidneys. And we don’t need that!

      I wish I could help!
      Feel better,

      AV

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.