Your diet affects more than your waistline. It affects the health of your vagina and affects infections, odor, and more.
Balancing health below the belt
Unbalanced pH. Sounds like chemistry, right? Add the word vagina and it’s enough to make us drool. Literally – because when you notice something different, like a new smell or more discharge than usual, it could be a sign that your vaginal pH is off.
A balanced vaginal pH should be between 3.8 and 4.2. When it’s out of balance for too long, bacteria can multiply and cause discomfort and even infection.
What causes the imbalance? Anything with a pH above 4.5, such as douches and scented soaps, can upset the natural acidity of your vagina. Even tight clothing that doesn’t circulate air can trap sweat and moisture on your skin, causing pH changes below the waistline.
Your vagina is very good at protecting and cleaning itself. Proper vaginal care, including good hygiene, safe sex, and regular gynecological visits can play a role in keeping your pH at a healthy level. Adding a lactobacilli supplement (Trusted Source) to one type of probiotic can help, along with changes in water intake and diet.
And with the diet comes the topic of food. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what to eat and what not to eat to improve vaginal health, but here are eight foods that are good for a woman’s body.
- Cranberry juice helps fight urinary tract infections
We’ve all heard or followed the popular advice to drink cranberry juice to treat urinary tract infections. But is there any evidence for this?
Cranberry juice (100% cranberry juice – no sweeteners) or concentrated cranberry extract is full of antioxidants and acidic compounds that are powerful anti-infectives that prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
Studies show that 100% cranberry products are especially beneficial in preventing UTIs in women with recurrent or recent UTIs. Stay away from cranberry juice that is high in sugar, it can make the condition worse.
- Eat more sweet potatoes for BV
These potatoes also have sweet benefits for your vaginal health. Rich in beta carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes help maintain healthy mucous membranes. This means it can help prevent bacterial vaginosis (BV), a common vaginal infection. Vitamin A deficiency, vitamin C, D, and E deficiency, calcium, folate, and beta-carotene increase the risk of BV. Well, eat!
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which helps stabilize insulin levels in people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Insulin resistance is common in PCOS, so by regulating blood sugar levels for several months, the fiber in sweet potatoes can help improve fertility and reduce symptoms.