The concept of “you are what you eat” applies to your overall health, including your precious lady parts. Some women may take probiotics and use mild soaps to maintain a healthy vagina, but these measures can still result in conditions like bacterial vaginosis (BV), for instance. According to research, the foods you eat can influence your vaginal health, from having BV or yeast infections to maintaining a healthy pH to ward off infections and bacteria.
A healthy vagina will have a naturally acidic pH to keep everything normal and free of infection. The foods you eat, however, can influence that pH level. Asparagus, broccoli, certain spices, red meat, dairy products, and alcohol can all affect the vagina’s natural balance. Similar to the gut microbes in the stomach, the vagina manages a delicate balance of naturally occurring bacteria. There is a link between gut bacteria and vaginal bacteria, and while it may not be a direct connection, they are linked nonetheless.
This theory presents the fact that a dietary change can influence your vaginal health for the worse or better. If the amount of bad bacteria in the gut or vagina outnumbers the amount of good bacteria, women may be more susceptible to infections, despite the hygienic measures that are taken. If good bacteria exceed the amount of bad bacteria, the vagina has a better chance of staying as healthy as possible.
Eating For Two: You And Your Vagina
To maintain vaginal health, Mary Rosser, M.D., Ph.D., ob-gyn at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, recommends filling up on plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. It is also acceptable to consume unsweetened Greek yogurt or kefir, known sources of probiotics that are intended to improve gut and vaginal health. These probiotics can also help maintain a healthy acidic pH balance in the vagina. You’ll find the best dietary recommendations for vaginal health below.
Avoid Processed Foods:
Processed foods have no positive effect on the body. In fact, they can impair the immune system’s ability to function optimally, which can allow bad bacteria to overpopulate down there. When this happens, a woman can experience vaginal dryness, pain during sexual intercourse, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, or BV.
Eat Prebiotics And Probiotics:
The vagina, much like the digestive system, requires healthy bacteria to fight infections. Prebiotics and probiotics are some of the best foods to promote a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and vagina. According to research, women with vaginitis and chronic vaginal discomfort have decreased symptoms and when they consume more pre and probiotics. If the goal is to improve gut and vaginal health, start eating prebiotics like onions, garlic, and raw leeks along with probiotics like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, and yogurt. Strive to eat these food sources of prebiotics and probiotics because the supplements are not always as beneficial.
If you are thirsty or experiencing mild dehydration, it is safe to assume that the vagina is too. Many unusual odors can emit from down there when the body is not sufficiently hydrated. If you didn’t believe in consuming half of your bodyweight in ounces of water before, you sure should now!
Avoid Meat And Dairy Products:
Meat, meat products, and dairy products are often high in fat and calories, both of which may increase the risk of BV. Meats and dairy products often contain xenoestrogens, which are artificial hormones that imitate estrogen. Research suggests that these hormones can block estrogen from the vagina, preventing the formation of the mucosal lining and increasing a woman’s risk of infection.
Focus On Fresh Foods:
There is no single ingredient or food that will magically improve your vaginal health, or your overall health for that matter. You shouldn’t look to only consume one food; rather, it is beneficial to consume a well-balanced, vitamin-rich, plant-based diet. Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, and avocados can help balance estrogen levels, creating a healthy mucosal lining. Almonds and other nuts, on the other hand, contain essential B-vitamins and calcium, both of which help to prevent vaginitis. Eat the rainbow to diversify your nutrient and antioxidant intake!
Take It Easy With Sugar:
Bacteria can feed on sugar, and consuming lots of sugary foods can also damage or kill off the beneficial bacteria in the vagina. Think of sugar as the opposite of probiotic because it is no good for the body. As we mentioned before, a bacterial imbalance can lead to soreness, irritation, or infections.