Cranberry juice isn't the only must-have for a healthy vagina. These foods and drinks prevent yeast infections, fibroids, UTIs, and more.
The Healthy Vagina Diet
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You've heard that cranberries and cranberry juice can help ward off UTIs, and you may have even heard a rumor that eating pineapple can affect the way you taste below the belt. But those aren't the only foods that have a huge impact on your vaginal health. Read on for more.
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Women who eat an apple a day report better sexual function (which includes their sexual satisfaction, ability to orgasm, and ability to get aroused), compared to those who don't, according to a study in the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. You can thank phloridzin, a phytoestrogen found in apples.
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If you're really looking for a boost, you'll want to go to the source directly with a supplement such as Renew Life Ultimate Flora Women’s Care Probiotic 25 Billion. They contain 25 billion live cultures per capsule of science-backed bacteria strains—way more than what you'd find in probiotic foods—that help promote vaginal and urinary health. (Here's more on the power of probiotics.)
Photo: Shutterstock/Vinogradskaya Natalia
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Polyphenolic catechins—found in green tea—may kill the E. coli bacteria that cause UTIs, according to research in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. Plus, the caffeine in green tea may help ease PMS symptoms, Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Mount Kisco Medical Group in New York, adds. (But don't overdo it; too much green tea could lead to liver damage.)
Whole Grains, Legumes, and Vegetables
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What do all these foods have in common? They're rich in fiber. "Fiber is a pre-biotic, so without enough, you won't be nurturing the good bacteria in your bowel," says Jennifer Gunter, M.D., director of the Center for Pelvic Pain and Vulvovaginal Disorders at Kaiser Permanente. "And the best way to keep your vagina healthy is to keep your colon healthy, as most bacteria comes from the colon." She recommends aiming for 25 grams a day, about the amount found in a cup of cooked black beans (15g), a cup of cooked quinoa (5g), and a sweet potato (5g).
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Three ounces of salmon contains about three-quarters of your daily value for vitamin D, plus a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. "Both nutrients are important for general health," says Dr. Dweck. They've also been linked to heart health, and Dr. Dweck says that any food that's good for your heart is also good for your arousal, since better overall circulation also promotes better blood flow below the belt. (Remember when Shailene Woodley told you to give your vagina some vitamin D? Yeah, don't do that.)
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"Hydration is a way to keep the vaginal area moist and lubricated," says Dr. Dweck. And the easier it is for you to get and stay wet, the more aroused you'll be.
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Women who eat two or more servings of fruit a day are 11 percent less likely to develop uterine fibroids, noncancerous masses that can cause pelvic pain and irregular bleeding, than those who had less than two servings a week, according to a study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Plus, fruit delivers a healthy dose of fiber.