Nutrition and UTIs
Our nutritional choices have a profound impact on our well-being, energy levels, and health. It should come as no surprise they can also help us deal with urinary tract infections and reduce our risks of getting them in the first place.
In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at nutrition and UTIs, how to deal with them, and if cranberries help us in any way.
Ready? Let’s get into it.
We often take our bladder health for granted but quickly realize how unpleasant a urinary tract infection can be. Most notably, we feel pain or a burning sensation while peeing, which can discourage us from going to the bathroom regularly and flush out toxins. We also visit the bathroom more frequently, often peeing out small amounts to gain temporary relief.
Worse symptoms include frequent need to pee at night, having cloudy urine, and even seeing blood in the urine. Not fun at all. Plus, we might also feel the sudden urge to pee, which can hinder work productivity and lead to unpleasant situations.
Nutrition and UTIs: Survival Strategies
Okay, let’s assume that you live a healthy lifestyle but have found yourself with a urinary tract infection. What should you do? Well, first off, remain calm. Though unpleasant, urinary tract infections are typically not that serious and rarely have long-term consequences.
The best thing you can start doing right away is to drink more fluids and remain hydrated. This might make it uncomfortable for a while, but more frequent urination can help your body flush out harmful bacteria.
Second, use probiotics – specifically, lactobacilli. These beneficial bacteria produce hydrogen peroxide in the urine, which makes it antibacterial, and allows it to rid the urinary tract of harmful bacteria. This is also beneficial for preventing harmful bacteria from causing infections in the future.
Third, get enough vitamin C and sleep. Vitamin C and adequate sleep both play an essential role in immune system function. Stronger immunity means superior defense against invaders and bacteria. This can help you deal with the UTI quicker. For instance, you can buy vitamin C in supplement form (500 or 1,000 mg per dose) and make sure to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Athletes and Urinary Tract Infections
Depending on the severity of the urinary tract infection, the athlete can carry on with their training or take a temporary break. If the symptoms aren’t too severe (for instance, it mostly comes down to frequent and unpleasant urination), the athlete can stay on track and train as they usually would.
Research shows that physical activity is beneficial for immune system function, so we should try to remain active when dealing with some infections.
With that said, some UTIs progress and can lead to symptoms like:
- Lower stomach pain
- Back pain on the left or right, just below the ribs
- A fever accompanied by chills
- Nausea and vomiting
In such a case, it would be better to take a break from training for a while, give your body time to heal, and then go back to training.
Do Cranberries Help Urinary Tract Infections?
An ever-growing body of research points at the idea that cranberries and cranberry juice can effectively fight infections and help us deal with UTIs.
First, some research shows that consuming up to 8 ounces of cranberry juice can lower the risk of urinary tract infections for women. Second, some research also suggests that taking 500 mg of cranberry supplement per day can drastically reduce the risk of recurring and one-time urinary tract infections in healthy women.
Experts recommend cranberries and related products as they seem safe for consumption and offer benefits in some studies. Still, researchers aren’t entirely sure how safe cranberry products are for pregnant and breastfeeding women, which is something to keep in mind.
And finally, researchers recommend consuming cranberry juice with at least 27 percent cranberries and supplements with 100 percent cranberry fruit extract.
Do you have more questions about how your nutrition and UTIs could be linked? Let’s chat.