A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are caused when bacteria enters the urine, which is normally sterile. This can lead to a bladder infection (cystitis) or a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). UTIs occur more often in women than in men, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- A burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Bladder or lower abdominal pressure
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)
Because UTIs are common, prevention is important. After a UTI is diagnosed, antibiotics are usually prescribed. But did you know that you can add certain foods and supplements to your diet to reduce the chances of contracting a UTI? Read on for five foods and supplements that are recommended by Harvard University to prevent UTIs at home.
Cranberries prevent UTIs by keeping bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. You can add cranberries to salads, brown rice, or other dishes; use cranberry extracts, which are low in sugar; or drink unsweetened cranberry juice. Cranberry juice cocktails, which have added sugar and other juices, won’t work as well.
Blueberries also keep bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract, like cranberries. Add more blueberries to your diet by adding them to salads, smoothies, or plain Greek yogurt.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C can make the urine more acidic, which prevents bacteria from growing. You can take 500 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C in a supplement daily. You can also add foods that are rich in vitamin C, like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, and green peppers.
Probiotics contain good bacteria that have been shown to prevent bad bacteria from growing. Probiotics are available in fermented foods, like plain Greek yogurt, cheese, and kefir. You can also take probiotic supplements.
D-mannose is a type of sugar that’s similar to glucose. In 2016, a University of Rome study found that d-mannose prevents bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract system, like cranberries and blueberries. You can find d-mannose in cranberries, apples, oranges, peaches, broccoli, and green beans. D-mannose is also available in supplements.