You may have already heard this at some point, but your diet plays a part in having (and keeping) a healthy, happy, and sexually satisfying vagina. A healthy diet will allow your vagina to maintain a normal and healthy pH– which means that it’ll be equipped with the right immune deficiencies and able to provide secretions for natural day-to-day moisture and intercourse.
A diet high in sugar and processed foods can quickly kill off any good bacteria in your vagina, which will, in turn, cause an imbalance, leading to bacterial infections and yeast issues.
So let’s look at the best foods to keep your vagina healthy.
1. Probiotics and prebiotics
Healthy bacteria are essential for healthy vaginal health. Foods that promote healthy gut bacteria can help maintain a healthy balance in the vaginal bacteria. A good probiotic can help you if you’re suffering from vaginitis.
If you find yourself getting recurring yeast infections or have a bacterial vaginosis condition that simply won’t go away, consider adding a quality probiotic to your daily regimen. If your infection is severe, you may be able to safely go up to 900 billion CFUs a day to get rid of the infection. Of course, always consult your physician beforehand. Fortify Optima is also a high-quality probiotic brand to consider (and has great reviews).
Try eating prebiotic foods (legumes, bananas, berries, garlic, licorice root) along with taking probiotic foods to improve your gut health and vaginal health.
Garlic is known for its awesome antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This can help prevent itching, burning, and discharge from infections, as well as UTIs. This pungent food also boosts the immune system, making it easier to fight infection.
Try eating two to three cloves of raw garlic either daily or a few times a week to improve your vaginal health. Garlic paste or raw garlic can also be added to salads and dishes. And of course, there are also garlic capsules that you can take–so you may want to consult your physician before doing so.
Lemons support healthy vaginal function. The acetic acid in them, which is also in oranges and grapefruit, helps to maintain a healthy pH level. These particular citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants that protect cells against free-radical injury.
Lemons help to boost your immune system and fight infections. To add lemons to your diet, consider making lemon water or lemonade and keeping it in your refrigerator to sip on throughout the week. Lemon water can be taken once or twice daily to restore your body’s pH balance.
Make lemon water by adding 1/2 cup of lemon juice to a glass of warm water. Add 1/2 a tablespoon of raw honey to taste.
Broccoli might not be the most popular vegetable on the block (especially with children), but it’s something you should consider adding to your diet–if possible. Broccoli is rich in a ton of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
A study from 2007 showed that women who ate foods high in flavonoid Kaempferol (such as broccoli–hint, hint), had a 40% reduction in their risk of developing ovarian cancer.
5. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is made up of active and live bacterial cultures (Lactobacillus bacteria), which prevents disease-causing organisms from attaching to the vagina. Also, it produces chemicals such as lactic acid, which inactivate and kill other infection-causing agents. It helps to maintain healthy pH levels and prevents fungus and bad bacteria from overcrowding your intestinal and vaginal linings.
Ultimately, lactobacilli are key to maintaining normal urogenital health. They also play a critical role in preventing yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis. Probiotic yogurt can be consumed in the form of 1 to 2 cups daily. You can also include miso, sauerkraut, sauerkraut, and kefir in your diet.
6. Cranberry juice
Cranberry juice can improve your vaginal and bladder health. It balances the vaginal pH and fights bacteria that can cause UTIs and other problems. Try drinking a glass of organic, unsweetened cranberry juice every day to reap the benefits. You can also find cranberry pills at your local grocery or health store.
Try to include kale along with other low-oxalate vegetables in your diet to help combat dryness, itching, and burning. Kale is super rich in vitamins A and C, which can help improve blood circulation. It can also boost your immune system to prevent vaginal infection.
Add it to your green smoothie, vegetable juice, or salad for a daily dose of antioxidants and minerals. It can be cooked lightly and eaten as a side meal. Other green vegetables that are good for your vaginal health are spinach, cabbage, celery, and collard greens.
8. Soy products (phytoestrogens)
Soy products and edamame contain phytoestrogens that help to keep your vagina lubricated. This is vital for preventing dryness, itching, and other problems. Soy-based products also offer omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals that can help you deal with both menopausal and premenstrual symptoms.
Try consuming half a cup of unprocessed organic edamame as a snack for lunch or in the evening. Soybeans, soy milk, and tofu are also great options.
Flaxseeds are high in phytoestrogens, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Phytoestrogens boost estrogen levels which can prevent vaginal dryness and other symptoms that are associated with menopause. These seeds also contain zinc, which can be used to treat burning, itching, and dryness around the vulva.
Try adding about 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (or flaxseed meal as it’s absorbed better) to cereals, juices, smoothies, yogurts, salads, and yogurt. Be sure to drink plenty of water to ensure smooth digestion when you eat flaxseeds.
Celery, which is rich in Vitamin C and water, works miracles to reduce bitterness in the vagina– granted you’re a woman that loves a little “southern comfort”. Vitamin C is extremely effective in restoring vaginal ecology and encouraging healthy flora. The high level of chlorophyll in celery, along with parsley, wheatgrass, and wheatgrass, is what makes it a powerhouse of bacteria-fighting antioxidants and minerals–all things that your vagina loves.
11. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to traditional potatoes–and have a lower glycemic level. Surprisingly, they are also very effective in maintaining good vaginal health.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, which helps to strengthen your uterine walls and stimulate the production of hormones that keep you energized. Keep in mind that sweet potatoes still contain a generous amount of natural sugar, so try not to eat more than about 1 cup per day.
12. High-fiber Foods
Prebiotics are found in high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes as well as whole grains, seeds, nuts, and seeds. They are loved by good intestinal bacteria and help to keep your whole body healthy, including your vaginal, in balance.
Aim to consume at least 25-30grams of fiber per day. And note that a high-fiber diet can help you keep your bowel movements normal and reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease.
Avocado is another surprising food that promotes healthy vaginal function. Avocado’s healthy monounsaturated fats support healthy vaginal walls and help keep them naturally moisturized. This prevents vaginal dryness, itching, and burning.
Its vitamin B6 content and potassium content also help support vaginal health. It’s possible to reap the benefits of avocado consumption by eating only a fourth of an avocado per day (try not to eat more than one avocado a day). This creamy fruit can be added to a salad, sandwich, smoothie, or Mexican dish.
Ok, so technically not a “food”, but just as essential–WATER. Everything becomes concentrated if you don’t hydrate– that includes the secretions in your vagina. If you are dehydrated, your urine and vaginal secretions May smell stronger than they normally would.
Dehydration easily disrupts the delicate balance of good yeast and bacteria in the vaginal microbiome. it’s these types of disruptions that often lead to vaginal infections, like yeast infections. So be sure to drink anywhere from 2 to 3 liters of water every day.
Things to Avoid For Best Vaginal Health
There are also certain foods and habits to avoid for optimal vaginal health. Let’s take a look.
Too Much Sugar
Sugar intake has been directly linked to bacterial vaginosis in multiple studies. The problem can be attributed to glucose. A study published in the JON found that too much glucose can increase the risk of recurring bacterial infections.
Recurrent BV can also negatively impact your reproductive health, making you more susceptible to other serious vaginal infections. So if you have hey daily sweet tooth, try to substitute those candy bars and cupcakes for fresh or dried fruit.
Heavy alcohol use
A lot of alcohol can cause you to sweat more than normal. You can also alter your gut Flora if you drink too much too often. Lastly, alcohol dries out your system so be sure to replenish your system with water and electrolytes after a night of drinking.
If you only had a glass of water for the day, be sure to consume an amount of water the following day to cleanse your system.
Animal-based foods containing artificial hormones
Certain meats and dairy products contain artificial hormones that can imitate estrogen. These hormones can block real estrogen in the vagina and prevent the mucosal line from forming–all of which can wreak havoc on your vagina–and lead to infection. These days, it’s especially important to read the labels on all of the food that you bring home (especially pork-based products).
Cigarette smoking can have a negative impact on your entire body, including your vagina. One study showed that cigarettes were very closely related to vaginal metabolites.
And the study women who smoked were also lacking Lactobacillus (a beneficial healthy bacteria). In the study, this was shown to potentially cause an increase in susceptibility to mail order and urogenital infections.