Women struggle with vaginal health at some point in their life and statistics show that at least 75 per cent of women get at least one yeast infection during their lifetime. It is important to note that what you eat has an effect on your vaginal health therefore, the key to improving your intimate well-being lies in what you put on your plate.
Lilian Nakayiki Nyanzi, a nutrition research associate, says one should eat foods that are rich in probiotics (good healthy live bacteria) such as yoghurt or any other fermented foods such as kefir. Such foods help build a balance between the good and bad bacteria hence improving body immunity against vaginal infections.
Every woman needs calcium and magnesium and kale is a sure source. “Mildly cook the kale and eat lots of it because these minerals are great for bettering muscle function and toning which the vagina really needs,” Rebecca Namyenya, a nurse at Bugolobi Wellness Centre explains.
Nyanzi also advises women to take lots of water since it helps in fighting against urinary tract infections. She advises that one takes between six to eight glasses of water per day.
We have heard it said that we should drink cranberry cocktails to deal with urinary tract infections. However, Namyenya says, this cocktail is often full of sugar which makes one prone to infection.
She, therefore, encourages drinking concentrated cranberry juice instead. “This juice has an ingredient that makes one’s bladder slippery hence resistant to bacteria such as E. coli that are responsible for urinary tract infections,” she says.
Foods such as nuts and avocado that are high in healthy mono-saturated fats are great for vaginal health as they are key in helping your body make sex hormones. If these hormones are not in the right ranges, say if oestrogen levels are low, Namyenya says: “One’s vagina feels drier than usual making sex painful. Therefore, dietary fat is great for the vagina.”
Whole grains have been said to have several benefits and that is because they have lots of probiotics. These include, among others, barley, and whole wheat. Namyenya says: “The healthy fibres found in these foods feed the good bacteria in our bodies.”
That said, Nyanzi says: “We consider the health and well-being of the general reproductive system. So in this case, one needs to have a balance between the probiotics (good healthy live bacteria and yeast) and the bad bacteria.”
Nyanzi explains that the imbalance between these two types of bacteria may be due to poor body hygiene, chronic use of antibiotics, low body immunity, and sexually transmitted infections. “The imbalance could cause vaginal candidiasis and yeast/fungal infections, among others.” In such a scenario, she advises that one seeks and adheres to medical treatment as advised by the physician/ doctor.