Vaginal health is an important aspect of any woman’s life. Many women struggle with some kind of vaginal issue at some point in their lives.
Yeast and bacterial infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginitis, thrush, excessive discharge or vaginal dryness can make any woman miserable.
Several factors that affect vaginal health include unprotected sex; conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, psychological issues; and hormonal changes in the body. Side effects of birth control and use of feminine-hygiene products also impact your vaginal health.
A healthy vagina has a naturally acidic pH level and plenty of healthy bacteria to help ward off infections. Good hygiene and several foods can help keep your vagina healthy and your pH levels balanced.
Here are the top 10 foods to improve your vaginal health.
1. Greek Yogurt
Eating Greek yogurt daily is great for maintaining vaginal health. It contains live and active cultures (Lactobacillus bacteria) that prevent disease-causing organisms from attaching to the vagina and produce chemicals like lactic acid that inactivate or kill other infection-causing organisms. It also helps maintain healthy pH levels in the body.
According to a 2014 study published in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics journal, lactobacilli help maintain normal urogenital health and play a key role in preventing bacterial vaginosis, yeast vaginitis, UTIs and sexually transmitted diseases.
Eat 1 to 2 cups of probiotic yogurt daily. Other good probiotic foods that you can include in your diet are miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir.
Lemons also support vaginal health as their acidic nature helps maintain the vagina’s healthy pH level. Antioxidants in it also help protect the cells from free-radical damage.
In addition, it works as an immune booster to help your body prevent and fight any kind of infection.
Drink lemon water once or twice daily to help restore the pH balance in your body. To make lemon water, mix the juice of ½ lemon to a glass of warm water and add a little raw honey for taste.
3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is great for improving your vaginal health. It helps balance the vagina’s pH level and its acidic property helps fight bacteria that cause UTIs, vaginal infections and other problems.
To reap the benefits, drink a glass of unsweetened, organic cranberry juice daily. Those who like the tart flavor can even eat a handful of cranberries daily. You can opt to take cranberry tablets, but consult your doctor first.
Garlic contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties that help prevent vaginal problems, such as itching, burning, odor, vaginal discharge and even UTIs.
It also boosts the immune system, so that your body is ready to fight off any infection.
Eat 2 to 3 raw garlic cloves on a daily basis. You can also add garlic or its paste to your dishes and salads. If you prefer to take garlic capsules, consult your doctor first.
To combat vaginal dryness as well as itching and burning, include kale and other low-oxalate green vegetables in your diet.
Kale is a rich source of vitamins A and C and helps improve blood circulation. In addition, it gives a boost to your immunity to help keep infections at bay.
Add kale to your salad, vegetable juice or green smoothie. You can also cook it lightly and eat it as a side dish. Other green vegetables that are good for vaginal health include cabbage, celery and collard green.
The phytoestrogens in this soy product help keep the vagina lubricated, which is very important to prevent dryness, itching and other problems.
It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, protein and several vitamins and minerals that help your body cope with premenstrual as well as menopausal symptoms.
Aim for consuming ½ cup of organic, unprocessed edamame on a daily basis. Other soy products that you can include in your diet are soybeans, soymilk, tofu and so on.
Rich in phytoestrogens and high in omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds can also combat many vaginal issues. The phytoestrogens increase estrogen levels, which prevents vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms.
In addition, the zinc in these seeds help treat vaginal dryness, itching and burning.
Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds on cereal, smoothies, yogurt, salads and juices. When eating flaxseeds, make sure to drink an ample amount of water for smooth digestion.
Avocado is another food that stimulates vaginal health. The healthy fats in avocado support healthy vaginal walls and keep it naturally lubricated. This helps prevent vaginal dryness as well as itching and burning.
In addition, its vitamin B6 and potassium content support vaginal health.
Make sure to eat avocado in moderation. Just ¼ of an avocado daily is enough to reap its benefits. You can include this creamy fruit in your salad, sandwich or smoothie.
9. Pumpkin Seeds
Every woman should include pumpkin seeds in their diet. Being a rich source of zinc, pumpkin seeds help regulate the menstrual cycle and even combat symptoms of vaginal dryness, such as itching and burning.
In addition, these tiny seeds boost your immune system and improve bladder health.
You can enjoy a handful of these sweet, creamy seeds as a healthy snack. Also, try adding the seeds to sautéed vegetables, salads, soups and smoothies.
10. Sweet Potatoes
You can also include sweet potatoes in your diet to keep your vaginal and uterine walls healthy. When absorbed by the body, the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes is converted into vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant.
This antioxidant protects against free-radical damage and allows the cells of the reproductive tract to function properly to keep the vaginal walls healthy and moist.
Eat 1 cup of sweet potatoes on a daily basis. Enjoy them baked, roasted, grilled or mashed.
- To keep the mucous vaginal membranes lubricated and functioning properly, drink sufficient water throughout the day.
- Avoid processed and sugar-rich foods.
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- While treating an infection, avoid foods that contain yeasts, such as beer and bread.
- Quit smoking and drinking, which can increase your risk of infection.
- When it comes to underwear, opt for cotton as it breathes and absorbs moisture.
- Do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
- Avoid douching, which increases the risk of infections.
- Avoid unprotected sex.
- Avoid using scented soaps, wipes and other vaginal products as they can lead to dryness.