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What juice is good for UTI besides cranberry?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections that affect the urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. While cranberry juice is often recommended as a home remedy to prevent and treat UTIs, there are several other juices that may also be beneficial.

What Causes UTIs?

UTIs occur when bacteria, most often E. coli from the gastrointestinal tract, enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply. Some factors that can increase the risk of developing a UTI include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Using a diaphragm for birth control
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Blockages in the urinary tract
  • Catheter use
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes
  • Spinal cord injury

Women are more prone to UTIs than men due to their shorter urethras and proximity to the anus. However, men with an enlarged prostate gland are also at increased risk.

Why Use Juice for UTI Treatment?

Drinking juices may help treat and prevent UTIs in a few key ways:

  • Increasing fluid intake – Drinking more fluids, especially water, helps dilute urine and flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
  • Providing antioxidants – Many juices contain antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the urinary tract.
  • Altering urine acidity – Some juices contain compounds that make urine more acidic, which creates an less hospitable environment for bacteria.
  • Blocking bacterial adhesion – Certain juices have substances that may prevent bacteria from adhering to urinary tract walls.

While most juices can help increase hydration, some have additional properties that specifically help fight UTIs.

Best Juices for Treating UTIs

Here are some of the top juices to try for UTI relief and prevention:

1. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is arguably the most well-known natural remedy for UTIs. It contains phytochemicals called A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs) that may prevent E. coli from adhering to the lining of the bladder.

Some research shows that regular consumption of cranberry juice, juice concentrates, or cranberry tablets can reduce UTI recurrence in women with frequent infections. However, other studies have found mixed results.

When choosing cranberry juice, opt for unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars. Cranberry juice cocktail often contains added juices and sweeteners.

2. Blueberry Juice

Like cranberries, blueberries are rich in PACs that may interfere with bacterial adhesion in the urinary tract. Early lab studies suggest blueberry extract may be protective against UTI-causing E. coli.

Try making fresh blueberry juice at home by blending blueberries with a bit of water and straining out the solids. You can also find bottled blueberry juices.

3. Lingonberry Juice

Lingonberries have high concentrations of quercetin, a plant compound that exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Swedish researchers found that lingonberry juice was able to suppress the growth of certain UTI-causing bacteria.

Lingonberry juice is not as common but can be found in health food stores, Scandinavian markets, and online.

4. Blackcurrant Juice

The berries and leaves of the blackcurrant plant are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins. Studies suggest blackcurrant extracts have antimicrobial effects against UTIs.

Blackcurrant juice provides a tart, antioxidant-rich beverage. Mix it with sweeter juices like apple or pomegranate if you find the flavor too tart.

5. Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is packed with polyphenols and antioxidants called ellagitannins that are thought to help fight UTI bacteria. An early study in women with recurrent UTIs found that drinking 5 ounces of pomegranate juice daily significantly reduced UTI symptoms.

Be sure to drink pure or 100% pomegranate juice without added sugars. You can dilute it with water or sparkling water to cut the tartness.

6. Kefir

Kefir is a cultured milk beverage often described as drinkable yogurt. It’s made by fermenting milk with kefir grains, which contain probiotic bacteria and yeast. The probiotics in kefir may help crowd out bad bacteria in the urinary tract.

Try making kefir smoothies by blending kefir with frozen berries and your choice of juice or milk. Use non-dairy kefir if you cannot tolerate dairy.

7. Pineapple Juice

Some research indicates that drinking pineapple juice may benefit UTI patients. In one study, patients with UTIs drank concentrated pineapple juice for three days. Many experienced decreased UTI symptoms compared to drinking only water.

Experts believe bromelain, an enzyme naturally present in pineapple, may have antimicrobial effects in the urinary tract. Just be sure to limit intake of the sugary canned varieties.

Other Liquids for UTI Relief

In addition to juices, some other fluids to increase your intake of include:

  • Water – Staying hydrated dilutes urine and prevents bacteria buildup.
  • Herbal teas – Try UTI-fighting herbs like corn silk, marshmallow root, and birch leaf.
  • Kombucha – Contains probiotics similar to kefir that may discourage UTI bacteria.
  • Vegetable broth – The nutrients from veggie broth can help heal urinary tract tissues.
  • Baking soda water – Alkalizes urine to reduce UTI bacteria’s growth environment.

Other UTI Remedies

While juices, fluids, and hydration can go a long way for treating UTIs, other natural remedies include:

  • Take D-mannose supplements to inhibit bacterial adhesion
  • Take probiotic supplements to support urinary tract health
  • Consider herbs like goldenseal, bearberry, and burdock root
  • Avoid potential UTI irritants like coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods
  • Wipe front to back after using the restroom
  • Urinate before and after intercourse

Combining increased fluid intake with other remedies provides a more comprehensive approach to UTI relief and prevention.

When to See a Doctor

While juices, fluids, and natural treatments can often resolve mild UTIs, it’s important to see a doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve within a few days. Signs to watch for include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Back, side or abdominal pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Increased urinary urgency or frequency

More serious UTIs like kidney infections require medical treatment, which may include antibiotic therapy. Seek prompt medical attention if you experience any signs of a kidney infection.

For recurrent UTIs, your doctor can also determine if there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

The Bottom Line

Drinking juices can be an effective part of your UTI home treatment plan. Cranberry juice is the most commonly recommended, but other beneficial options include blueberry, lingonberry, blackcurrant, pomegranate, and pineapple juices.

Aim for unsweetened varieties over juice cocktails packed with added sugars. And be sure to drink plenty of fluids like water, herbal tea, kefir, and vegetable broth.

While juices and fluids can flush bacteria from the urinary tract, see a doctor if your UTI lasts more than a few days or you develop any concerning symptoms. With the right combination of at-home remedies and medical guidance when necessary, you can stay UTI-free.

Juice Potential Benefits
Cranberry Contains PACs that may prevent bacterial adhesion in urinary tract
Blueberry PACs may interfere with bacteria clinging to urinary tract walls
Lingonberry Quercetin exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Blackcurrant Rich in anthocyanins that may have antimicrobial effects
Pomegranate Ellagitannins may fight UTI bacteria
Pineapple Bromelain enzyme thought to have antimicrobial properties

References:

  • Mayo Clinic. “Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).” Accessed August 25, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447
  • Medical News Today. “Eight home remedies for UTIs.” Accessed August 25, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320585
  • Healthline. “7 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).” Accessed August 25, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-uti
  • Takahashi S, Hamasuna R, Yasuda M, et al. “A randomized clinical trial to evaluate the preventive effect of cranberry juice (UR65) for patients with recurrent urinary tract infection.” J Infect Chemother. 2013 Apr;19(2):112-7.
  • Vostalova J, Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al. “Are High Proanthocyanidins Key to Cranberry Efficacy in the Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection?” Phytother Res. 2015 Oct;29(10):1559-67.