Wouldn't it be amazing if you could minimize your reoccurrence of common vaginal infections like BV, Yeast Infections, UTI's and trichomoniasis just by changing the most basic habit we perform daily?
Whenever we experience discomfort, we look towards extreme changes in our lives in order to fix the situation and to ensure it will never happen again, only to be inconsistent and end off just where we started. And from there, once we get a grasp of what we’re facing (which is most of the time something quite manageable) we tend to go through our medicine cabinet and stock up at the pharmacy with OTCs, essential oils and supplement for a quick fix.
Now don’t get us wrong, supplementation with Probiotics, Prebiotics and Immune Boosters are vital for optimal vaginal wellness – we wouldn’t have created Happy V if we didn’t think that they could benefit our health. However, after we go to the doctor and take our probiotics, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do more and address the underlying issues that caused our suffering in the first place.
Vaginal care doesn’t necessarily mean that you should only follow a strict hygienic-regime that includes the OTC products that we seek when things go bad. It’s a combination of lifestyle choices such as keeping good hygiene, safe sex, taking the right vaginal care supplements, wearing loose-fitting and dry clothes and even not choosing to stray away from scented soaps or lotions.
It may sound like a lot of things to keep track of care of, so that’s why we’ve created a series of articles that dive deep into each subject so we can truly take our time to understand what’s going on, why it’s important and how knowing such things can be the key to unlocking your overall vaginal health!
Sorry, not sorry – we’re starting with your diet!
Eating healthy isn’t just about good skin and weight loss, although those things are important to us. We aren’t just feeding ourselves. Every time we eat we are feeding trillions of microorganisms that carry out millions of processes every day that we can’t begin to fathom.
From respiration and enzymatic processes to the production of lactic acid for optimal vaginal pH by our good bacteria, eating is essential to delivering the nutrients to stay healthy and maintain a healthy vaginal flora.
Ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat”? Don’t ever forget that the foods you eat dictate the health of your whole body, and that includes your vagina!
So what better way to start this series of habit-changes that to focus on the most crucial aspect of a healthy vaginal flora: your diet!
Here are 7 types of foods you should be eating more of, and how to incorporate them into your diet!
1. Probiotic-rich foods
You’ve heard them before, and most likely very recently. Probiotics are good bacteria that act as the civilians of our body making sure everything functions properly. Literally there are trillions of them on and inside us right this second.
It was first thought that babies were actually born sterile, but the birth canal and placenta of a woman contains billions of probiotics helping us grow within the stomach. Then as we grow within our own environment we develop our own microflora – think of it as our own unique fingerprint.
Lactic-acid producing bacteria like Lactobacilli species and certain strains of yeast decrease the chances of contracting vaginal infections. Vaginal yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and most of the premenstrual symptoms (PMS) are caused due to an imbalance in the vaginal ecology. Therefore, probiotics and other natural probiotic-rich foods such as miso, pickles, and yogurt are always a wise choice when it comes to healthy eating.
Probiotics for vaginal health:
- They increase the number of beneficial bacteria that produce lactic acid in order to balance the pH levels of the vagina.
- These good bacteria compete with harmful bacteria for nutrients and inhibit them from producing the toxins that create vaginal infections.
- They also reduce the severity of PMS by improving the estrogen and hormone balance.
Probiotic supplements and natural probiotics containing food ingredients tend to increase the number of good bacteria in our bodies, boost our immunity, improve our gut health and more. Foods like this include Yogurt and fermented foods are rich in lactobacillus.
Don’t fall into the trap that yogurt is bad for you (unless you are allergic that is). Our bodies have been developing for thousands of generations and yogurt dates back 10,000 years – a lot of time for a food staple to become an integral part of the development of our microbiome.
Need an easy way to consume yogurt? We love having yogurt at least once a day, preferably as kefir in our smoothies or with some kind of nut butter as a snack.
Here’s a delicious smoothie recipe that is rich in probiotics, protein, and medium-chain triglycerides.
- 1/2 cup kefir
- 1/2 cup mixed berries
- 2 leaves of kale
- 1 tbpsn Coconut Oil
- 1/2 serving (approx. 15g) Whey Protein Isolate
Pro-tip: To avoid mild side-effects, try taking smaller doses in the beginning and then gradually increasing the intake of probiotics.
Yes, it’s as simple as just drinking water. Remember that we are about 75% water, and staying hydrated has a host of health benefits especially when it comes to our vaginal health. Drinking water does it all, including regulating brain functioning, enhances gut health, and enhances your physical performance. But when it comes to vaginal health, drinking water ensures proper lubrication and the flushing of bacteria through the urinary tract.
Water for vaginal health:
- It lubricates vaginal walls and reduces vaginal itching and pain especially during sex.
- Essential in Balancing your vaginal pH level and keeps it slightly acidic, which is most ideal.
- Prevents vaginal yeast infection and BV by regularly flushing out bad bacteria that haven’t attached to epithelial cells.
- Prevents UTIs by washing off all the bad bacteria from the urinogenital tract.
An easy way to get more water? As soon as you wake up, drink 2 cups of water at the beginning of the day, then if you workout in the morning make sure to drink 16oz for every 1 hour you work out. If you do this, as we prefer all women do, you can have 4-5 glasses of water before even starting your workday!
Pro-tip: Buy a water bottle that has the time and measure lines to it to keep you accountable!
Garlic, a wonder herb, is grown worldwide and used for its laundry list of health benefits. For example, it has organosulfur compounds, which when applied to nails or skin, can fight off yeast infections. It’s super important to eat garlic for this reason alone! But if you need another reason, it can also provide a zing to your sex life because it enhances blood flow to your lady bits.
In women, garlic can fight vaginal yeast infection caused by the overgrowth of C. Albicans, a harmful yeast. It can also be used to treat BV, a vaginal infection responsible for unusual vaginal discharge and unpleasant odor.
Garlic for vaginal health:
- It kills bad bacteria and yeast responsible for vaginal bacterial and yeast infections
- Enhances vaginal and sexual health by improving blood flow to your vagina
- Reduces the premenstrual symptoms such as a headache, cramps, and inflammation
Want to consume more garlic? There are SO MANY recipes that garlic play a key role, no matter the cuisine style. We love Garlic potatoes or Yuca. and btw, tubers are great prebiotics, check out this following recipe.
Pro-tip: Don’t insert nicked garlic into your vagina because it can irritate your vaginal walls. Whoever suggested this is simply crazy.
4. Cranberries and Elderberries
Are you sick of chronic yeast infections, recurring BV or UTIs? If your answer is yes, then you should definitely try adding these nutrition-rich berries to your diet. Cranberry and elderberry juices are acidic in nature and have lots of Vitamin C, antioxidants and tannins. They are also fiber-rich and prevent inflammation and UTIs.
Now cranberries are great, as you probably know because of the PACs or proanthocyanidins, well you can get those from regular cranberries as well. It’s important to not only take great supplements, like Immune Boost which has a clinically proven cranberry blend known as Pacran®, but also by eating these foods in their natural form, where they are balanced with good forms of sugars, polyphenols, tannins, fibers and more!
Berries for your vaginal health:
- Prevent the sticking of bad bacteria to your vaginal walls.
- Reduce the chances of cervical cancer by preventing the formation of free radicals.
- Bioflavonoids in cranberries and elderberries enhance immunity against bad bacteria and infections.
- Prevent urinary tract infections.
Pro-tip: Make sure to use natural cranberry and elderberry extracts and juices with low sugar (60 calories per cup) or ideally unsweetened.
5. Whole grains and nuts
Okay, let’s get this out of the way now. Carbs are not bad for you, and we love whole grains.
Whole grains, nuts, and seeds are rich in healthy fiber and Vitamin E, which keeps your skin and vagina hydrated, prevents dryness and controls the growth of bad bacteria.
Let’s remember that a prebiotic is a fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate. Good bacteria feed on healthy fiber and keep a strong check on bad bacteria.
Good bacteria are also rich in fats — just make sure to choose unsaturated fat containing nuts.
- Pumpkin seeds contain zinc responsible for the maintenance of a menstrual cycle and reduce PMS.
- Almonds Walnuts – the oil in them prevents vaginal dryness, itching, and ultimately infection.
- Flaxseeds have phytoestrogens in them which mimic the female hormone estrogen, improves sexual activity, and can regulate hormonal imbalance especially in pregnant women.
Pro-tip: 1) Foods with tags such as stone-ground, multigrain, cracked wheat etc. may not contain whole grains. 2) Always go for dry-roasted and unsaturated fats containing nuts without salt.
6. Sardines and salmon
Salmon and sardines are rich in Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for general health, heart health and vaginal health. The deficiency of Vitamin D has a direct correlation with hormonal imbalances, which can cause a depletion of lactobacillus and the chances of bacterial vaginosis.
Fatty acids are actually the building blocks of sex hormones and can improve your sexual response and trigger arousal.
Salmon and sardines for vaginal health:
- There are anti-inflammatory compounds in these fish that can reduce inflammation and relieve cramps.
- Re-tighten your vaginal walls and muscles
- The Vitamin-D in them also helps to tackle mood swings and other premenstrual syndromes
- Reduces the risk of bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections
- They keep your vagina lubricated and reduce menopausal vaginal dryness
Pro-tip: If you’re not a big fan of fish and seafood then opt for DHA, EPA titled omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Talk to your doctor before taking Vitamin D supplements.
7. Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are enriched with innumerable minerals and nutrients responsible for overall health. They strengthen your pelvic floor and vaginal muscles and above that, they are also responsible for tightening your vagina.
Your sex partner will definitely thank you for adding fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Fruits and leafy greens for vaginal health:
- Reduce pelvic pain and cramps by improving blood flow
- Prevents uterine fibroids and tumors to develop
- Vitamin B6 and potassium strengthens your vaginal walls and muscles
- Green vegetables prevent vaginal dryness and infections.
- Apples can boost your sexual function, lubrication, and orgasms by mimicking female sex hormone estradiol.
Happy V Pro-tip: Go from eating just greens to a rainbow! The more colorful your diet is, the greater the range of health benefits.