Fruit juice, especially juice made from berries, and probiotic dairy products could help prevent women from getting recurring urinary tract infections, says a team of Finnish researchers.
The team from the University of Oulu, Finland studied dietary and other risk factors for UTI in fertile women. They compared 139 women, aged on average 31 years old, and diagnosed with acute UTI to 185 age-matched women with no episodes of UTIs during the past five years. Data on the women's dietary and other lifestyle habits were collected by questionnaires.
Frequent consumption of fresh juices, especially berry juices, and fermented milk products containing probiotic bacteria was associated with a decreased risk of recurrence of UTI, reported the researchers in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Risk of UTI was reduced by 34 per cent for those drinking a glass of juice daily, and women who often drank berry juice could reduce the risk further by more than 70 per cent. Cranberry juice has in previous research been shown to benefit urinary health.
Women who ate fermented milk products such as cheese or yoghurt containing probiotic bacteria three times a week were around 80 per cent less likely to have a recurring infection than those eating these foods less than once a week.
"Dietary habits seem to be an important risk factor for UTI recurrence in fertile women, and dietary guidance could be a first step toward prevention," concluded the researchers.
They explained that urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria in the stool and foods that alter the properties of the fecal bacterial flora may be able to reduce the risk of the disease. Antioxidants in fruit are also thought to play a role in fighting disease.