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An infection in any part of the urinary system, kidneys, bladder or urethra is called a urinary tract infection (UTI). Both men and women can get a UTI but it is more common in women. UTIs usually occur in the bladder or urethra but more serious infections involve the kidney.

A bladder infection may cause pelvic pain, increased urge to urinate, pain, a burning sensation when urinating (painful urination) and blood in the urine. A kidney infection may cause back pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. There are few conditions that can be the reason behind recurrent urinary tract infection such as low immunity level and reduced hydration. In this article, we discuss the dietary changes that need to be made during this infection as well as to avoid recurrent UTIs. 

  1. Foods for urinary tract infection
  2. Foods to avoid in urinary tract infections
  3. Diet plan for urinary tract infection
Doctors for Urinary Tract Infection Diet

Following are certain foods and diet habits that, along with medication, can help in the treatment of this infection and control the recurrence of the disease.

Immunity-boosting foods: Urinary tract infection is very common in people who have a weakened immune system. Boost your immunity and avoid this infection by adding all the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, etc in your daily diet. To add these nutrients, eat nuts, seeds, fatty fish, seasonal fruits and vegetables in a balanced manner. You can also add a few spices such as turmeric, clove and black pepper, as they are a good source of antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties.

Cranberry juice: Cranberry juice is one of the most common food items used to treat urinary tract infection. It is rich in several types of nutrients, including powerful antioxidants such as polyphenol and vitamin C, which helps our body fight this infection. There is also evidence suggesting that cranberry can be effective in preventing UTI recurrence, so consuming this superfood can be beneficial for UTI patients. Instead of packaged and sweetened fruit juice, try to have unsweetened cranberry juice, capsules or dried fruits, all of which are freely available in the market.

(Read more: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies, Herbs for UTI)

Probiotics: Yogurt and curd are rich in good bacteria, which help to fight the bad bacteria in the gut and balance the good bacteria in your body. Consuming probiotic bacteria can help in effective prevention and treatment of a UTI. Probiotics also help overcome the after effects of antibiotic therapy and maintain a healthy digestive system. So if you are facing the recurrent urinary tract infections, include curd in your daily diet.

Garlic: Garlic has been used to treat infections and fever for ages. Since it is rich in immunity-boosting nutrients such as vitamins C, B1, B6, allicin, iron and phosphorus, garlic is great for boosting overall health. A study suggests that allicin (a key substance in garlic) helps treat the resistant bacteria in a UTI. So if you are suffering from this problem, add raw garlic in a crushed or chutney form in your diet.

Colourful fruits and vegetables: A balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables is sure to keep you healthy and prevent conditions like UTIs. Include green vegetables like spinach, fenugreek leaves, sponge gourd, bottle gourd, etc. and fruits like kiwi, pomegranate, mangoes, banana, etc in your diet. These foods provide your body with the nutrition it requires to keep you healthy and prevent any infections.

Hydration: Drinking water is extremely important to keep your urinary system healthy. It helps flush out toxins and pathogens and can help prevent as well as treat a UTI. Make sure you drink at least 3-3.5 litres (10-12 glasses) of water in a day to alleviate your symptoms. If you are not able to drink plain water, replace it with detox water, fresh fruit juices or lemon water.

(Read more: How much water to drink in a day)

There are few foods that can irritate your bladder and dehydrate your body. Following are some such foods you should avoid:

Spicy food: Certain spicy foods can irritate the bladder, which can worsen the symptom of this infection. Try to have simple home-cooked nutritious meals with minimal amounts of oil and spice.

Citrus fruits: Although they’re high in immunity-boosting vitamin C, highly acidic fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit can irritate your bladder and aggravate urinary tract infection symptoms.

Caffeinated drinks: It’s important to stay hydrated when you have a UTI. Caffeinated drinks can dehydrate your body so stay away from coffee and other caffeinated beverages such as tea, green tea, energy drinks, soft drinks etc. If you feel thirsty, choose non-caffeinated beverages instead.

Following is a sample diet plan that you can follow if you have a urinary tract infection:

  • Early morning: Warm water (1 glass) + almonds (5-6) + soaked walnuts (2-3)
  • Breakfast: Sprout moong cheela (2) + green chutney (2 tbsp) + papaya smoothie (1 glass)
  • Mid meal: Fresh mixed fruit or cranberry juice (1 glass)
  • Lunch: Green salad (1 bowl) + chapati (2) + palak kadhi (1 bowl)
  • Evening: Vegetable soup (1 bowl)
  • Dinner: Pea pulao (1 bowl) + soybean curry (1 bowl)
  • Bedtime: Milk (1 glass)
Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Nutritionist
8 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

Nutritionist
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Nutritionist
20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

Nutritionist
7 Years of Experience

References

  1. Fu Zhuxuan, Liska DeAnn, Talan David, Chung Mei. Cranberry Reduces the Risk of Urinary Tract Infection Recurrence in Otherwise Healthy Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis . J Nutr. 2017 Dec; 147(12): 2282-2288. PMID: 29046404
  2. Reitera Jana, et al. [link]. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. January 2020; 310 (1): 151359

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