We all get cravings from time to time. And YES, our menstrual cycle does seem to go hand in hand with a hankering for chocolate, ice cream and potato chips.
That’s all quite normal, yet be warned, if you suffer with frequent UTIs refined sugar is not your friend.
Ok, so this isn’t exactly a newsflash. But it has made headlines. In recent years, we’ve seen the introduction of the sugar tax and countless studies that show the relationship between sugar consumption and poor health.
Did you know that sugar can affect the health of your urinary system leading to UTIs? This link is one more reason to say goodbye to refined sugar.
What causes Urinary Tract Infections?
It’s hard to wrap our heads around the idea that our bodies are big communities of microorganisms, thriving ecosystems of bacteria that help us in return for a place to live. Particular colonies of bacteria live on the skin, in the mouth and nose, in the gut and the urinary system. When things are healthy and in balance, the relationship between your body and your bacteria is beneficial, everyone wins.
Things start to look shaky when certain activities spread bacteria from one part of the body to another. Also, under the right conditions, certain bacteria can multiply and dominate their local colony. Think of it like overcrowding, when things get tight, some of those dominant bacteria sprawl outwards to other parts of the body.
Does sugar make infections worse?
One of the major causes of UTIs is E.coli bacteria. Most of the time, E.coli exists peacefully in your gut. However, they thrive on sugar. If you eat enough sugar, they’ll multiply until there’s too many of them for the gut to handle. At the same time, your urine becomes more acidic. This creates the perfect conditions for E.coli to travel to the urinary tract and cause UTIs.
Getting the balance right
Eating and drinking habits that support the right balance of bacteria and keep the acidity of your urine down are the way forward.
Sugary drinks are bad news for your bacterial balance. They weaken your immune system which increases your risk of infection generally. Plus, they also provide the E.coli bacteria in your body with all the right conditions to become a pain in the urinary tract.
Sadly, you can’t automatically switch to artificially sweetened drinks either. Early studies show that they may irritate your bladder. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol are also off the menu. It’s hard to hear but not news to most people.
High-sugar foods cause all the same problems. You need to become a label hawk to get familiar with all the different ways that sugar creeps into your diet. There are more than 50 different names for sugar. If that sounds too complicated, then read on for some foods and drinks that you can easily consume — no studying required.
Top tips for UTI Treatment and better bladder health
Establishing great habits is the key to long-term health. These are simple: eat fresh foods and drink plenty of water. Our bodies digest simple foods like fruit, vegetables and proteins without having to work too hard.
Water helps your body deal with much of the digesting and processing that goes on. When you drink enough, it keeps you hydrated and your acidity levels down. You’ll also pee regularly which keeps your system flowing and reduces the amount of time that bacteria have to thrive in your system by flushing them out.
Pomegranate juice has high levels of antioxidants and D-mannose which helps to keep you in good health. Eating pomegranates also raises your fibre intake.
Fermented foods are great for your health in general and your bacterial balance in particular. Adding sauerkraut, natural yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and tempeh to your diet ensures you have a good spread of these superfoods.
Consistency is key
Follow the right guidelines in your everyday life and you’ll lower your risk of having to deal with conditions like UTIs. For more informative articles about your body and urinary health, check out our learning centre.