Vaginal health is something many women struggle with at some point in their lives. Yeast and bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, and different irritations can be unpleasant, painful and uncomfortable. About 75% of women get at least one yeast infection during their lifetime, and if you ever suffered one, you know that it is a real nuisance and can disturb quite a few areas of your life.
Foods and drinks have a different effect on the body’s pH; some promote your health and vigor, while others work against it. Not surprisingly, what we eat also has an effect on the vagina and vaginal health. Often, the key to improving you intimate well-being lies in what you put on your plate.
Here is a list of some common foods that will help you strengthen and preserve your vaginal health:
Natural yogurt and other probiotics
Eating probiotics play an important role in maintaining the vaginal pH at its slightly acidic level and warding off yeast infections.
Probiotics also referred to as the ‘good’ or ‘beneficial’ bacteria, keep your gut healthy, thus supporting the well-being of the whole body and balancing the body’s pH. There are also 9 other reasons to take probiotics.
The best sources include fermented foods like natural yogurt (Greek yogurt), miso, kimchi, sauerkrauts and kefir (you can also use kefir to cleanse your colon). When buying your yogurt, make sure to go for the one that contains live and active cultures and avoid sugary and flavored yogurts that will do little for your vaginal health.
The jury is still out on the benefits of drinking kombucha (a beverage made by fermenting tea) if suffering from a yeast infection. While some hail this drink for its probiotic effects, others advise not to consume it while fighting a yeast-overgrowth due to the sugar and yeast it contains (these two are food for organisms – such as a candida – that cause yeast infections).
Pure cranberry juice is well known for its beneficial effect on the bladder. It both prevents and relieves the symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTI). Cranberries acidify the urine and balance the pH of the vaginal area. They contain acidic compounds that don’t get broken down when they travel through the digestive system, so they can fight the bacteria that cause urinary infections.
Most store-bought cranberry juices, unfortunately, contain way too much sugar to serve its healing purpose. Your best bet is to either look for pure, unsweetened cranberry juice or eat fresh cranberries. Unsweetened cranberries do taste tart and many people find them unpalatable. Try mixing them in your yogurt or sweeten them with stevia which will not disturb your vaginal pH. You can find more information about the health benefits of cranberries as well as other berries in my e-Book The Healing Berry Guide.
Garlic is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For best results, eat this ancient remedy raw and try to avoid these 6 common mistakes when using garlic as a medicine. If you suffer from a yeast (candida) infection, a garlic vaginal suppository (garlic pessary) is recommended – it effectively kills the yeasts and soothes the symptoms of the infection, which include itchiness and soreness.
As odd as it might sound, you simply insert a clove of fresh, peeled garlic into your vagina and leave it overnight. You can design a sort of a tampon by wrapping the garlic in a gauze or cheesecloth before inserting it. Repeat the treatment for three consecutive nights.
The active ingredient in garlic is called allicin – it is responsible for garlic’s potent smell and its healing effect. True, consuming and using a lot of raw garlic might temporarily give you a distinct odor, but this is not a lot to put up with in exchange for a healthy and vibrant vagina. You can use garlic to treat many other ailments and you can find more information about it in my post on how to use garlic as a medicine.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a part of a balanced diet that also supports your vaginal health. Certain vitamins and minerals found in fresh veggies and fruits are particularly good.
Vitamin C is a well known immune system booster. Citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, kiwifruit, green and red peppers and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C.
Leafy greens should be consumed in abundance. They help with the circulation and prevent vaginal dryness. Try to eat plenty of spinach, kale, cabbage, salad, Swiss chard, collards and other leafy greens. If you find it hard to eat them by themselves, mix them in a smoothie or sautéed them. You can also detox your body with these 8 leafy greens.
Seeds and nuts
Adding nuts to your daily nutrition is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health. Vitamin E prevents vaginal dryness and can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, as well as in the oils derived from these nuts. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc. This essential mineral regulates the menstrual cycle and helps combat itching and other symptoms of dryness. Find here more about the amazing health benefits of nuts and seeds.
Flaxseed is another super-food that is good to include in your diet on a regular basis. Rich in phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids, it helps to boost estrogen levels and stops vaginal dryness. It is important to consume ground flaxseed in order to enjoy their benefits. Flaxseed is also one of the superfoods mentioned in my e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition and weight loss goals.
The mucous vaginal membranes require plenty of water. To function properly, they need to stay well-hydrated. The best way to achieve this is by drinking sufficient amounts of water. At least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water should be drinking each day (1.5 to 2 liters). Water helps to lubricate your vagina and also diminishes the smell of your private parts
Foods to avoid
If vaginal health is your priority, steer clear of certain foods. Products that disturb vaginal (and body) pH and contain nutrients bacteria and yeast feed on should be avoided, especially while you are trying to heal an infection. The main offenders include sugars, alcohols (these also contain sugars) and wheat. Often, the best way to treat a candida infection is to starve the yeast – these organisms are very fond of a sugary environment, therefore a strict low carb diet is recommended. Some also advise skipping foods that contain yeasts, such as beer and bread.
Generally speaking, if you want to enjoy a healthy vagina, you should stick to a balanced diet, avoid processed and sugar-rich foods and eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.