You have heard of the mind-gut connection. You are aware of the impact your diet has on your health and general wellbeing. But what about the connection between the intestines and the vagina?
Right, the gut-vagina connection is very real in the sense that your vaginal health is often a reflection of your general health, which of course is affected by * drum roll please * … your diet!
Eating a healthy diet can help regulate cramps, fight off infection, and keep your vagina alive. How to Eat for a Healthy Vagina?
Are there certain foods to stay away from? What role does diet play in treating pre-existing reproductive health problems that often affect the vagina?
Turn it on and find out!
The magical microbiome
Ok back to gut health. The standard guidelines for maintaining a healthy diet also apply to maintaining vaginal health: eat vegetables, limit processed foods, animal products and refined sugars, avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine.
Without being too strict with yourself (unless medically necessary), it is important to eat according to these guidelines to stay healthy Gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is home to many different microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi known as gut flora.
This incredible flora helps maintain a balanced immune system, keep your brain and heart healthy, and much more.
If this is unbalanced due to a non-ideal diet, the use of antibiotics or chronic illness, a ripple effect occurs throughout the body. This can accidentally damage your vagina.
Your Vaginal flora helps maintain the slightly acidic environment of your vagina, which is typically around 4.5 pH. This acid prevents unwanted microorganisms from developing and thriving.
Food for your flora
After you’ve brushed up on your microbiome knowledge, let’s get to the fun part – food!
Sugar is a pretty controversial topic. Loved by so many, but not always by the microorganisms that keep you in tip-top shape. It is important to remember that refined sugars, such as those found in candy and soda, act differently in the body than natural ones found in fruits and honey.
A sugar-filled diet puts you at increased risk for chronic inflammationwhich hinders the body’s ability to fight infections.
This is especially important for those who tend to Yeast infections. Yeast thrives on sugar and, when combined with a solid diet of refined sugar, can cause itching, abnormal discharge, and all other tell-tale signs of vaginal yeast infection.
A little bit here and there is fine, but watch your body’s reactions and try to opt for fruits and unsweetened dark chocolate instead!
Beware of alcohol
If you stay in the same direction as sugar, watch your alcohol consumption. Given that alcohol is made from fermented foods that naturally produce sugar as part of the fermentation process, it makes sense to limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
While certain drinks like an alcohol with tonic water contain less sugar than a glass of red wine, they consume Alcohol can increase inflammation in the body, damages your intestinal bacteria and in turn – your vagina.
Fats are your friend
Ignore past diets that condemn fat – they’re awesome! Healthy monounsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, legumes, nuts, and avocados, are necessary for maintaining your overall health.
The olive oil-based salad dressing can help Fight inflammation, one of the many roles of healthy fats. A handful of nuts will help regulate the cholesterol that is retained healthy hormonal function.
Your hormones are regulated by yours Endocrine system. When this gets out of hand, it can lead to or worsen reproductive health disorders such as endometriosis. PCOS, Herpes simplex virus, and menstrual or fertility problems.
You can learn more about it Eat for endometriosis here.
Eating for a healthy vagina is not only about fighting off harmful bacteria, but also making your body a hospitable place for good bacteria.
One of the easiest ways to increase your intake of beneficial bacteria is through food Probiotics. These friends for your flora help regulate gut health and keep your body’s immune system in order. This is important in warding off vaginal imbalances and regulating other reproductive health disorders.
While probiotic supplements are a good option, you can of course include them in your diet with probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, plain yogurt, and tempeh – although you might want to Limit your soy intake.
Vegetables and Vages
Now for the namesake of this article – vegetables! We put all plant-based whole foods that you can find in your garden into this category.
Plant products are important for maintaining your gut microbiome as well as your vaginal flora.
Not only do they help with digestion, detect, and fight inflammation, but they’re also rich in essential vitamins and minerals that your vagina needs to do everything it does best!
Fortunately, there is a world out there of fantastic fruits and vegetables just waiting for you to devour them. Eat broccoli, leafy vegetables, pumpkins, berries and much more!
All right vagina owners, here’s your friendly reminder to eat your plants, stay hydrated, and make friends with fats. Do it for your vagina!
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at the age of fourteen when she was present at the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birthing doula gave her insights into the magical realm of childbirth, pregnancy and everything in between. Your role as an obstetrician is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as an important educational tool to bring about changes in our view of reproductive health as a whole.