Can diet treat or prevent UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)? The short answer is – yes – no – maybe. Confused?
After doing thorough research on UTIs, this was all I felt. But looking at the myths and half-true information all over, I am writing this article as an ultimate step-by-step Indian diet guide during and after UTI. So read it till the end.
Feeling burning sensation while peeing? Going for frequent urination but still getting a sense of incomplete bladder emptying? Experiencing dark urine with strong odor? UTI is very common. Every year millions of people get affected by UTI. So, relax you are not alone.
In search of a special diet and special food, we often undermine the power of a sustainable & balanced diet. This will take care of your immunity, fight against infection, eliminate toxins, and helps you with faster recovery.
Ultimate Indian Diet Guide for UTI – First thing first
Even before we go deep into the diet, 3 things you must not forget for fast recovery. They are –
Drink water –
I know it’s boring and you are too busy to drink water. But this excuse won’t work now. Every research emphasizes the importance of drinking water for faster recovery of UTIs.
Don’t get confused with hot water or cold water or infused water. All you need to remember is to fill your water bottle and drink 2.5 to 3 liters of water every day. (6)
Consult a doctor –
Sometimes UTI remains mild. Therefore, drinking enough water, a healthy nutritious diet and ample rest are enough to control the infection. However, if you experience no gradual reduction in the intensity of the symptoms, don’t try self-medication. Visit a qualified physician for help.
Complete the antibiotic course –
Once feel better after 2-3 days of staring the antibiotic, people often miss to complete the course as per doctor’s prescription. This may cause bacteria left behind and lead to another infection after few days. So, don’t forget to complete the entire antibiotic course.
Ultimate Indian Diet Guide for UTI – Take care of carbs
Ideally as per national dietary guideline 50-60% of you daily total calorie must come from carbohydrate. Grains like rice, wheat, millet, oats, buckwheat, corn etc are the main source of carbohydrates in Indian diet.
Focus on bringing variety of grains in daily diet. Eat your meal when you can. Avoid eating during fever. Wait for the fever to go and then have a high calorie meal to combat the infection.
Eat in moderation, neither too much nor too less. If you have lost appetite then it is better to have small frequent meals instead of having 3 big meals during UTI.
You may find having semi solid foods more comforting. You may add ragi drink, oats smoothie, suji/ dalia porridge, plain khichri, millet khichri, quinoa porridge, toast, sandwich etc as per your taste.
Ultimate Indian Diet Guide for UTI – You need protein
You need protein just like any normal day during and after UTI. It has been seen most of us do not meet the standard daily protein requirement which is 0.8g/kg body weight.
Some research suggests that your protein requirement may increase up to 20-30 % depending on your health during infection. (2)
If you are a vegetarian include dal, milk & milk products, and nuts & seeds as a primary protein source in the diet. Make sure you have at least 3-4 varieties of dal in a week. This includes yellow moong, green moong, masoor dal, tur dal, chana, chole, rajma, lobia, soybean, sprouts, etc in daily diet.
Add milk, curd, paneer, chana, and buttermilk to your diet. Milk-based smoothie or porridge with oats/ dalia/ suji/ ragi, buttermilk after lunch, and turmeric milk before bed can be a great choice to ensure protein intake.
Ultimate Indian Diet Guide for UTI – Eat good fat
During UTI, people often struggle to eat. Adding fat to meal helps to increase the calorie count of the food thus helps to keep the strength to fight the infection.
Good fat not only provides calorie but also supply all the essential fatty acids, omega 3 &6 fatty acids for better heart health.
Consider using filtered/ double filtered or cold pressed oil where the flavour of the oil is intact. Avoid using refined oil for cooking. You may use good quality, homemade ghee or butter for daily use.
However always be careful to use the fats and oil in moderation. A daily use of 6-8 teaspoon of fat is fine. Avoid too much of oily foods or fried foods. But you can use a teaspoon of ghee/ butter on top in your breakfast, lunch and dinner. This will also help to clear bowel movement during infection.
Include a handful of soaked or roasted nuts and seeds on a regular basis. Have it as the first food of the day. This will help to supply all the good fat that your body is craving for. During UTI, you may consider grinding the nuts and seeds and use in a smoothie or porridge.
Ultimate Indian Diet Guide for UTI – Be mindful of micronutrients
There is an increased demand for micronutrient when you are struggling with fever and infection. Specifically, you have a higher need of Vitamin B complex and vitamin C along with other minerals.
Your diet must have ample amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables of different colors to supply your need. If you have a loss of appetite, try having vegetable soup/ stew/broth, fruit juice/smoothie for more fluid consumption.
Pick your vegetables and fruits as per the season and local availability. Among fruits, banana is all time available, easy to eat and great as a snack. Add 1-2 citrus fruits to your diet – lemon, mosambi, amla, etc. Vitamin C will help to fight the infection to some extent. (3)(4) Coconut water is a great choice for supplying all necessary minerals. You may drink a cup of coconut water during and after UTI.
However, do not think the packaged cranberry juice will do the same job. Remember, packaged cranberry juice is processed and contains loads of sugar, fruit concentrates & preservatives. There is no real cranberry in the boxed drink.
You may look for dried cranberry online without any added sugar and have a fistful of it daily.
Ultimate Indian Diet Guide for UTI – Supplements may help
Herbs and natural supplements like D Mannose, garlic, cranberry, green tea, chamomile tea, mint tea may help you to cure and prevent UTI to some extent. Remember to pick high quality product for desired results.
D Mannose is a form of sugar which is found in fruits like cranberry, apple and oranges. You can get D Mannose- cranberry extract capsule online. Does it work? Research suggests that it may help to reduce and prevent UTI. (10) (11) (12)
One study reported the positive role of garlic in preventing UTI. You may think of adding garlic to your cooking or can start the day with 1 clove of garlic. However, it may have side effects like heart burn, bad breath. If you are struggling with acidity, heart burn, IBS, gastritis etc, avoid having garlic.
Research suggests green tea, mint tea, chamomile tea etc may control UTI. Therefore drinking 1-2 cups of these tea may help you to feel better.
Drink enough water and fluid. Make this your mantra. Consume soup, juice, stew, coconut water, ragi water, sattu water, thin dal etc – basically foods which has lot of water. Loss of appetite is real especially when you have fever and pain around lower abdomen. Try to eat small frequent meal. You may think of having some supplements as per your choice. Consult doctor. Relax and take rest. You will be fine.