As they say, you are what you eat. Your diet affects not only your weight but your skin, organ function, and reproductive health. These foods help contribute to a healthy vagina by warding off infections, improving circulation, reducing dryness, and even preventing unpleasant odors.
#1. Processed Foods
Processed foods can wreak all kinds of havoc on your body, but as far as the vagina is concerned, processed foods can allow harmful bacteria to take over as a result of depressing the immune system. There are numerous problems that can arise from this, such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis (BV), pain felt during sex, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and vaginal dryness.
Overconsumption of sugar is no good for anything, least of all your vagina. Important bacteria in the vagina known as Lactobacilli can be damaged or even killed off by excess amounts of sugar. While probiotic foods such as yogurt, pickles, kimchi, kombucha, or sauerkraut can help to maintain normal levels of vaginal pH and fight off infections, sugar does the exact opposite: it actually feeds yeast.
Yeast infections, irritation, and soreness can all result from the bacterial imbalance that too much sugar can create. To help prevent yeast infections, try following the Candida diet by avoiding white rice and flour, high-sugar foods, and foods made with fermented yeast.
While most experts suggest that the odd drink now and then is fine, excessive consumption of alcohol – especially during your period – can only cause harm. Many women believe that drinking while on their period can offer some relief from cramps, the truth is alcohol has the opposite effect; it can actually worsen menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms. Plus, alcohol can also bring bloating and headaches.
As it happens, any food that is going to give you bad breath can also give you bad vaginal odors. Onions are one of the best (or rather, worst) examples of this, along with garlic, as the onion smell can be found in your urine after consuming too many onions. While obviously good for you and not at all detrimental to your overall health, excessive onion consumption can have a negative effect on the health of your vagina — and your sex life.
Just like onions, asparagus can cause some unpleasant odors down below. Unlike onions, however, asparagus can also have a negative effect on your vagina’s pH balance — that’s what causes the odor. Eating asparagus will not be particularly harmful to your vagina or your overall health, but if you’d prefer to keep the vaginal odors at a minimum, avoiding asparagus may be the way to go.
Whereas Greek yogurt offers beneficial probiotic effects on the vagina and its pH balance, this sadly doesn’t continue into other areas of the dairy world. Cheese can lead to an increased risk of developing a yeast infection because it can cause hormonal imbalance due to high insulin levels which disrupt normal vaginal bacteria. To reduce this risk, it’s a good idea to enjoy cheese with water or other food rather than eating cheese on its own.
#7. Fried Foods
Not only can the high levels of fat content in fried food damage the sensitive bacterial balance of the vagina, a diet high in fried food can also increase the risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. Fried food is a big no-no if you want to maintain your vaginal health.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.