Every woman knows that Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the leading causes of painful pee.
When your urinary tract is irritated or burns when you pee, reducing the acidicy (alkalising your pee) often helps to reduce the discomfort and the pressing urgency you feel to go to the bathroom, especially in the middle of the night.
You see acidic pee is like putting lemon juice on a cut – it stings. What’s more, acidic urine encourages E-coli bacteria to grow in your bladder and may make it harder to treat an infection successfully.
We like to think that we are in charge when it comes to our bodies, but modern lifestyles and diets can compromise our health in ways that we don’t really think about. Maybe we are not as in control as we think?
Here we’ll take a look at ways that we can keep your urinary tract comfortable and healthy. Let’s start with the science bit.
What is urine pH?
Anything that comes out of your body can tell you what’s going on inside. Urine is no exception. The pH of your pee can tell you a lot.
Remember pH from those chemistry lessons back in school? Here’s a brief refresher if your memory is a little fuzzy. pH measures how acidic or alkaline things are and its scale runs from 0–14. Anything below 7 is acidic, anything above is alkaline and bang on 7 is neutral.
For urine, the ideal pH is 6 but it can be anything from 5–8 and still be normal. Anything outside that range isn’t ideal.
Why does it matter?
Most people these days have a high salt and sugar diet. When you add caffeine and alcohol into the mix your pee will lean into the more acidic end of the scale. Acidic pee encourages bacteria to grow and, if you are prone to frequent bladder infections can make things worse.
Test your pee at home
Get smart about your body through testing. You don’t have to rely on your GP. Test your pee at home with a set of testing sticks that you can pick up from your chemist. Pee on the stick or pee in a cup and dip.
Here are a few tips to bear in mind:
- if you pee in a cup, test immediately — bacteria in your pee will keep doing their thing while sat in that cup and will turn your pee more alkaline than it is in your body
- if you test first thing in the morning, your pee will be more acidic — if you want to know what your maximum acidity levels are stick with morning testing.
- whenever you test, make sure it’s the same time each day otherwise you’ll see the natural fluctuations your pee goes through in a day rather than the changes you want to know about
- make a note of your results so you can easily track what your pee is up to.
Is there anything else you can do?
Change what you put in, change what you get out, simple. Some foods and drinks reduce the acidity. For instance, did you know that vegetarians and vegans have more alkaline pee? Once you experiment and increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegatables, while reducing processed meats and dairy you’ll see the difference very quickly.
Make sure you’re getting enough water. Water dilutes acidity and offers you some protection. It will also flush your bladder of excess salt, sugar and bacteria as you’ll pee more often.
Two and a half liters of good quality, filtered or mineral water a day will have a beneficial effect, not simply on your unrary tract but in your over all heath and wellbeing. This is what good hydration does for your body:
- helps to keep you cool
- rejuices joint stiffness and pain
- helps prevent infections
- delivers nutrients to cells
- keep your organs functioning properly
- improves your sleep quality
- makes you smarter (yes really)
- helps you lose body fat
- improves your mood
You can spruce up your water intake juices and smoothies. Here are 2 recipes that will help your pee stay more alkaline. Adjust levels to taste and feel free to add other fresh ingredients after you’ve checked our how acidic or alkaline they are.
Classic PeeSting smoothie
- 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1 cup tart cherries (frozen)
- 1 cup rice or oat milk (or 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of raw oats)
- 3/4 cup of crushed ice
- 1 x apple
- 1 x fresh Medjool date
- 1 tsp aloe vera powder
- 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
Throw everything in a good blender and whizz until it’s nice and smooth.
PeeSting alkalizing fresh breakfast juice
- 1/2 head of celery
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 apple
- 1/2 grapefruit (yellow skin removed; tip: red grapefruit tastes best)
- 1/3 cup of tepid water
Substitute grapefruit for a lemon or lime once or twice a week.
Juice together and enjoy straight away.