foods for vaginal health

13 Foods for Vaginal Health That You’ll Actually Want to Eat

Eating healthy foods doesn’t have to be a chore and it doesn’t have to mean that you won’t be able to enjoy tasty, decadent meals. Your vagina is part of your overall health, obviously, and there are certain foods for vaginal health that  you can incorporate into your diet.

From meals to snacks, one of the trickiest parts about eating healthier foods is simply knowing what to eat. Take a look at this list, write down the stuff you like to eat, and make a point to eat it more often – easy! It doesn’t have to be a big challenge or a major upheaval of your life.

Small, incremental changes can make a huge difference. We’re not worried about calories or anything like that here (but it’s something to consider in your overall food choices), we’re strictly looking at foods that are proven – or at least have degree of evidence to suggest – that they are healthy, in particular, for us ladies.

1. Foods For Vaginal Health? Try Plain yogurt

The vagina is naturally acidic with a pH between 3.8 to 4.5 allowing it to protect itself from harmful bacteria. When healthy, it can maintain its pH level on its own, but sometimes factors like stress, antibiotics, or unprotected sex can alter its pH putting you at risk for developing a vaginal infection like Candidiasis or Bacterial vaginosis. 

This is why adding plain yogurt to your diet might be a good idea. Yogurt is a probiotic, so it contains live bacteria cultures. This might sound strange, but live bacteria (especially Lactobacillus acidophilus) may help your vagina maintain its pH, ensuring it remains the perfect acidic environment. 

Other probiotics for vaginal health that might interest you include kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir (fermented yogurt drink).

2. Sweet potatoes

If you are trying to get pregnant, adding sweet potatoes to your diet may help. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and vitamin A, both of which can help strengthen and protect uterine walls.

Some studies have shown that beta carotene and vitamin A can improve fertility and reproduction in both women and men, and support healthy fetal development. 

Finally, if you suffer from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the nutrients found in sweet potatoes may help manage your symptoms by slowing down digestion and reducing the impact of sugar on the blood. 

3. Cranberries 

Eating cranberries to treat a urinary tract infection has been recommended for years but is there any truth to it? Luckily, the answer is yes! 

Fresh cranberries and 100% cranberry juice are full of antioxidants and acidic compounds that can fight the infection and stop bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder. If you aren’t convinced, studies have shown that consuming cranberries (especially as juice) is particularly effective for early UTIs and recurrent infections.

Choose fresh cranberries or 100% cranberry juice without added sugar because increased sugar consumption could increase your chances of developing a yeast infection. 

4. Citrus fruits 

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are full of vitamin C, which is necessary for overall vaginal health. It can reduce the risk of developing vaginal infections like BV and may even increase your sexual stamina. 

Eating citrus fruits has also shown some potential positive benefits when it comes to fighting other diseases and health issues, but we’ll leave that up to the doctors. What we do know, is that vitamin C is great for you, it’s beneficial for your vaginal health, and if you can squeeze in some orange juice or a shot of lemon ginger every now and then, you’ll be better for it!

5. Other Great Foods For Vaginal Health? Try Kale

Kale (and other low-oxalate green vegetables) can help protect against vaginal dryness. Kale is great to have in smoothies, and also really good to just fry up with a little bit of soup broth, it turns into a tasty saute that takes about 5 minute sto make and only needs a couple of ingredients. Literally just add a splash of soup stock, some chopped garlic, and a big handful of kale leaves to a pan, saute, and you’ve got an amazingly healthy and delicious side dish.

Full of vitamins A and C, adding kale to your diet can improve blood circulation “down there” which is important for the production of natural lubrication. Additionally, adding vegetables like kale, cabbage, celery, or collard greens to your diet can boost your immune system, making it easier for your body to fight against vaginal infections like BV. 

6. Water

You already know how important water is for hydration and maintaining important bodily functions but did you know that getting your “8 cups a day” helps hydrate the vagina too? There’s been some debate recently about how important exactly 8 cups of water is, but just use it as a rough guideline if nothing else. If you’re still thirsty, drink more!

Your vagina is a mucous surface (just like your mouth!) so the more water you drink, the more hydrated your vagina will be too. 

Staying hydrated as been shown to help produce natural lubrication, maintain pH balance of the vagina, and even helps with self-cleaning by allowing secretions to be released from the vagina.

If you’re out and about, walking, exercising, or even just sitting outside on a hot day – make sure you’re accounting for that with some extra hydration. Don’t stop at 8 cups if you’re still thirsty, or if you’re sweating a lot on a particular day.

7. Red Wine

If you have a low libido, adding red wine to your diet may help. Full of antioxidants, drinking red wine can trigger the production of nitric oxide in the blood, which helps relax artery walls and increases blood flow down below. Don’t buy it?

Studies like this one have shown that women who drank 1 to 2 glasses of red wine felt more sexual desire than the women who didn’t drink any red wine. With wine, less is more so it’s best to stick to a max of two glasses for the best effect. 

Another benefit of red wine is the high flavonoid content which has been shown to potentially act as a preventive against ovarian cancer. Obviously, and this goes without saying, don’t rely on red wine as some kind of magical cancer-superfood to keep you safe – you still need to listen to your gynecologist and have regular visits, screenings, etc.

8. Avocado

The healthy fats in avocado help stimulate vaginal health by supporting healthy vaginal walls and encouraging natural lubrication production. This helps avoid vaginal dryness as well as itching and burning. Avocados are packed with healthy fats. They are calorically dense, relatively speaking, but these are good fats that will give you tons of energy.

Avocados are full of vitamins and nutrients like vitamin B6 and potassium which further promote vaginal health.

Don’t listen to weirdos who will shame you if you’re a millennial who likes to eat avocado toast, and don’t worry, avocados aren’t the reason that you aren’t living in your dream home. Enjoy your avocado toast, live your truth.

9. Garlic

Garlic contains antifungal and antimicrobial properties making it a great choice for promoting vaginal health. It can help with common vaginal issues like itching, burning, odor, and discharge. It may also help with treating UTIs. 

This powerful vegetable is known for boosting the immune system making it easier for your body to fight off any infection, especially at the first sign of trouble.

For best results, it’s recommended to eat 2-3 cloves of garlic per day. But if that’s too intense, you can try adding it to salads or other favorite dishes. Remember the kale recipe we mentioned earlier on that also includes garlic? You could easily chop up 2-3 cloves for that recipe, and then you’re all set. One dish of sauted kale and you’re set for veggies, garlic, and a very healthy snack or side.

10. Edamame 

Soy products like Edamame contain phytoestrogens that can help keep the vagina lubricated. While there’s controversy around soy increasing estrogen, the effects are minimal and can even help women dealing with reduced estrogen levels. 

If you aren’t a fan of edamame, you can get similar benefits from tofu, miso, and tempeh. It’s best to avoid overly-processed options like soy burgers because they often contain preservatives, unhealthy fats, and sodium.

Men can enjoy edamame and other soy products, too. It’s insane that we even have to mention this, but if a gentleman in your life is at all concerned about consuming soy, tell him he’s got nothing to worry about, and try to avoid having your eyes roll into the back of your head.

11. Dark chocolate

I know some of you are thinking, “Here we go, now we’re talking!”

Like we said, this list is all about foods you’ll actually want to eat and that you’ll enjoy eating. The bad news is that we’re talking about darker chocolate here – the darker the better – since that means less sugar and more of the good stuff.

Like red wine, some types of dark chocolate contain a high level of flavonoids making it a great source of antioxidants. As little as one square per day can increase sexual desire and improve sexual function. 

Dark chocolate is also a great source of magnesium which can help soothe painful menstrual cramps as well as methylxanthines that can improve libido and phenylalanine, an amino acid that produces dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical for the brain. You don’t need us to tell you that chocolate makes people feel good, though.

12. Almonds

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E which promotes stronger vaginal walls and muscles and helps combat vaginal dryness by hydrating the mucous membranes inside the vagina.

They’re also a great source of zinc, which can help regulate the menstrual cycle and hormones. Almonds are one of the easiest snacks in the entire world. Unlike certain other types of nuts, you don’t need to de-shell or peel them or anything. Just buy a bag of almonds, and eat ’em. it’s that simple.

13. Salmon 

Salmon contains omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which are important for promoting vaginal health. Omega 3 fatty acids are also known to provide relief for severe menstrual cramps by reducing inflammation and may improve your sex life by encouraging blood circulation and blood flow “down below”.

Salmon is easy to cook, and relatively affordable. You can buy fresh salmon that you can bake or fry up, or you can even get canned salmon. You can make salmon-salad, similar to tuna salad, by adding a little mayo and it goes great in a wrap.