Yogurt And Berries Ward Off UTIs

We’ve all heard that cranberry juice can help reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs), but did you know yogurt does the same? New research from the University of Oulu in Finland shows that women who have diets abundant in berries or fermented dairy products have less chance of developing a UTI, an ailment that will affect most women in their lifetimes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003, vol. 77, no. 3). UTIs are marked by symptoms that include painful and frequent urination, lower back pain, fever, and chills. To reach their findings, the researchers studied 324 fertile women with an average age of 30.5.

Women in the study who drank one glass of berry juice per day were 34 percent less likely to contract a UTI than those who did not drink a glass of juice each day. Berries are beneficial for UTI prevention because they contain flavonols called epicatechin that inhibit coliform bacteria, the cause of UTIs, from adhering to human cells in the colon. Cranberry and cranberry-lingonberry juices have the highest epicatechin content.

In addition, fermented milk products, such as yogurt and some cheeses, contain probiotic bacteria, which grows and replaces coliform bacteria in the human intestine. The fertile women in the group who consumed fermented milk products at least three times a week were 80 percent less likely to contract a UTI compared with women who ate such foods only once a week.

—Sarah Toland