Frequent UTIs? Going vegetarian could help

Monday, 03 February, 2020

Frequent UTIs? Going vegetarian could help

A study in Scientific Reports has revealed that a vegetarian diet could lower the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs occur when gut bacteria, such as E. coli, enters the urinary tract through the urethra and affects the kidneys and bladder. Meat can contain E. coli strains known to cause UTIs, but it is unknown if avoiding meat reduces the risk of UTIs.

The Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study assessed the incidence of UTIs in 9724 Buddhists in Taiwan and investigated the role of a vegetarian diet on their health. Findings revealed that the overall risk of UTIs was 16% lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians. Of the 3040 vegetarians in the study, 217 developed a UTI compared to 444 UTI cases in 6684 non-vegetarians. The reduced risk associated with a vegetarian diet was greater in men than women, though overall UTI risk was 79% lower for men than for women, regardless of diet.

Research suggests that not consuming common sources of E. coli, such as poultry and pork, could help avoid UTIs. Researchers also noted that the higher fibre diet of vegetarians could prevent the growth of E. coli in the gut, decreasing the risk of UTIs by making the intestine more acidic.

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