Below, Nielsen shares the top things you should eat and drink if you have a UTI, and things you should avoid.
- Cranberry juice. It's an age-old remedy and it can work, Nielsen says.
- Water, lots of it.
- Good quality probiotics and fermented foods.
- Plant-based protein.
- What to avoid: sugar.
- Caffeine, spicy food, alcohol.
What not to eat in UTI?
Next time you have a UTI load up on these foods and drinks so you can help kick that infection right out of your body:
- Water. PIN IT. Christin Urso. Stop what you are doing and drink a large glass of water.
- Cranberry Juice. PIN IT. Abby Cote.
- Yogurt. PIN IT. Alex Frank.
- Garlic. PIN IT. Kai Huang.
What are common bladder irritants?
Certain foods and beverages might irritate your bladder, including:
- Coffee, tea and carbonated drinks, even without caffeine.
- Certain acidic fruits — oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes — and fruit juices.
- Spicy foods.
- Tomato-based products.
- Carbonated drinks.
So try to avoid lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and tomatoes when you're treating a UTI. Other fruits that may cause bladder irritation and worsen a urinary tract infection include apples, peaches, grapes, plums, strawberries, and pineapple. You should also steer clear of juices made from these fruits.
Coconut water is a natural diuretic so it helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. However, a more effective strategy is to drink cranberry juice as it actually prevents E.coli bacteria, the bacteria most likely to cause a urinary tract infection, from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) may not be completely avoidable. Some evidence suggests that probiotics may help prevent UTIs by keeping "bad" bacteria from growing in the vagina. Probiotics are available in supplements and in fermented foods such as plain Greek yogurt, cheese, and a drink called kefir.
- Get Your Fill of Water. One of the first things to do when you have a urinary tract infection is drink plenty of water.
- Load Up on Vitamin C for a Healthy Urinary Tract.
- Soothe UTI Pain With Heat.
- Cut Bladder Irritants From Your Diet.
- Go Ahead, Empty Your Bladder Again.
- Consider Herbal Remedies.
- Change to Healthier Habits.
Diet and Urinary Incontinence Symptoms
|Food or Drink||Effect on Incontinence|
|Acidic foods and drinks (such as citrus fruits, coffee, tea, and tomatoes)||Irritates the bladder.|
|Carbonated drinks||Irritates sensitive bladders.|
|Spicy foods||Irritates the bladder.|
|Sugar, honey, and artificial sweeteners||Irritate the bladder.|
At the top of the UTI “myth list” is the widely held belief that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements can prevent and treat UTIs. “There is an active ingredient in cranberries that can prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, particularly E. coli,” says urologist Courtenay Moore, MD.
Here's what the latest research says about the four best drinks for kidney health:
- Wine. Yes, you read that correctly.
- Cranberry Juice. This tart red drink is good for both your urinary tract and kidney health.
- Lemon- and Lime-based Citrus Juices.
According to the researchers, one in three women has had a urinary tract infection. Camesano said people should not self-treat urinary tract infections, and anyone who suspects they have an infection should see a doctor, but drinking cranberry juice may be an easy, inexpensive way to help keep E. coli at bay.
Urinary Tract Infections. Trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and viruses can also cause UTIs. Low resistance, poor diet, stress, and trauma to the urethra from childbirth, surgery, and catheterization can predispose you to getting them. A sudden increase in sexual activity can be a trigger (hence the term “honeymoon cystitis”)
The active ingredient in cranberries -- A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs) -- is effective against UTI-causing bacteria, but is found only in cranberry capsules, not in cranberry juice, Boone said. "It takes an extremely large concentration of cranberry to prevent bacterial adhesion," Boone said.
Probiotics Could Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections. The diversity of bacteria is represented in this artist rendering. Women take antimicrobial medications to combat these infections and the medications wipe out all bacteria, both good and bad. But for some women, the bad bacteria grow back to cause a recurrent UTI
High-fat foods include:
- Fried foods, like french fries and potato chips.
- High-fat meats, such as bacon, bologna, sausage, ground beef, and ribs.
- High-fat dairy products, such as butter, cheese, ice cream, cream, whole milk, and sour cream.
- Foods made with lard or butter.
- Creamy soups or sauces.
- Meat gravies.
The most common UTIs occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra. Infection of the bladder (cystitis). This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria are responsible.
Tips for Keeping Your Urinary System Healthy
- Drink Water When You Feel Thirsty.
- Go Easy on the Salt (Which Makes You Retain Water)
- Consider Reducing your Caffeine Intake.
- Take Extra Water When You Are Out in the Sun or Doing Aerobic Exercise.
- Urinate and Clean Yourself Before and After Sex.
There are certain items that are more likely to trigger IC flares:
- Coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated), tea (caffeinated and decaffeinated), soda, alcohol, citrus juices, and cranberry juice.
- Foods and beverages containing artificial sweeteners.
- Hot peppers and spicy foods.
Fruits and fruit juices high in acid
- lemon juice (pH: 2.00–2.35)
- limes (pH: 2.00–2.80)
- blue plums (pH: 2.80–3.40)
- grapes (pH: 2.90–3.82)
- pomegranates (pH: 2.93–3.20)
- grapefruits (pH: 3.00–3.75)
- blueberries (pH: 3.12–3.33)
- pineapples (pH: 3.20–4.00)
Incontinence: Foods to Avoid
- Caffeinated beverages and foods.
- Spicy foods.
- Citrus fruits and juices.
- Carbonated beverages.
- Milk and milk products.
- Sugar or honey.
- Artificial sweeteners.
It is important to avoid certain foods and also to recognize that vitamins, especially the B vitamins and any that are acidic, can dramatically irritate the bladder in some patients with IC. In most people, this causes no problem, but can be irritating in those with IC or bladder spasm.
Get the Facts: The Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice. You may have heard that drinking cranberry juice can help with a urinary tract infection (UTI), but that's not the only benefit. Cranberries are water-harvested fruits. They are packed with nutrients to help your body ward off infections and boost overall health.