A urinary tract infection commonly referred to as UTI is an infection caused by microbes. They are usually caused by a bacteria called E-coli. However, it can also be caused by fungi and viruses in some cases. A UTI is treatable.
There are many ways that one can treat a UTI. It has been noted that some fruits are good for people who are suffering from UTIs or even for preventing the incidence of UTIs in individuals.
Not all fruits though are good for urinary tract infection or for preventing it. One very important and common fruit that people talk about when discussing the topic of Urinary tract infections is the banana fruit. But the question is, are bananas really good for urinary tract infections?
Let’s take a deeper look at what UTIs are, how one can get them, then narrow down to find out if bananas can be helpful for people suffering from UTIs or can even help prevent urinary tract infections.
What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A urinary tract infection, also known as UTI, is an infection in any part of the urinary system (that is your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra). The majority of infections are located in the lower part of the urinary tract.
The people who stand the most chance of getting a UTI are women. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than men because of the anatomy of their sexual reproductive organs.
What are the causes of UTI?
A urinary tract infection is caused by an infection of microbes (small organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye but can be seen with the use of a microscope).
Most UTIs are caused by bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and in rare cases by viruses. UTIs are among the most common infections in humans.
What are the risk factors for UTI?
There are also many factors that can put you at an increased risk of getting a UTI. These include
- Reduced movement after surgery
- Prolonged bed rest
- Kidney stones
- A previous UTI
- Urinary tract blockages like kidney stones, enlarged prostate, certain forms of cancer, diabetes, pregnancy, etc.
- Abnormally developed urinary structures from birth
- Weakened immune system
What are the symptoms of UTI?
Symptoms of a UTI depend on what part of the urinary tract is infected, be it the upper or lower part. Let’s take a look at the symptoms associated with these parts.
Lower urinary tract symptoms of UTI
The lower urinary tract consists of the urethra and bladder. When the lower urinary part is affected by an infection, the symptoms below can be experienced
- burning sensation with urination
- increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
- increased urgency of urination
- bloody urine
- cloudy urine
- urine that looks like cola or tea
- urine that has a pungent smell
- pelvic pain in women
- rectal pain in men
Upper urinary tract symptoms of UTI
The upper urinary tract consists of the kidneys and ureters. When the upper urinary part is affected by an infection, the symptoms below can be experienced
- Pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
Are bananas good for urinary tract infections?
Yes, bananas have been found to be very good for urinary tract infections. This is because it plays some role in preventing the incidence of these sorts of infections.
Banana as fruit has a lot of health benefits due to the presence of very important nutrients and bioactive compounds that help fight against diseases like urinary tract infections.
How does bananas help treat or prevent urinary tract infections?
There are certain types of rich fiber foods or fruits that are good for preventing urinary tract infections and banana is one of them.
Due to their high fiber content, they aid in the proper movement of the bowels. This helps keep the pressure of the urinary tract. This ensures that urinary flow is not obstructed, thus, making sure that there is no build-up of bacteria.
About 120g of most bananas contain about 1.7 grams of soluble fiber, which helps get rid of bacteria when paired with sufficient water intake.
Unlike a number of fruits which are known to cause irritation and hence cause problems in people with sensitive bladders, bananas are good to eat if you have a sensitive bladder, as it does not cause irritation.
Also, vitamin B6 which is known to be present in bananas contributes to boosting the immune system. They are water-soluble and hence can easily reach the urinary tract through filtration into the kidneys. They contribute to the production of antibodies that help to fight the microorganisms that are causing urinary tract infections.
The vitamin C contained in bananas also contributes to its ability to treat or prevent urinary tract infections.
Vitamin C is known to serve as an antioxidant and also plays a role in the repairing of the body tissues in the case of an existing UTI. It helps boost the immune system to help fight or prevent most infections.
Furthermore, bananas contain carotenoids and flavonoids which have potent antioxidant effects hence protecting the body in several ways and contributing to the healing process as well.
Other health benefits of Banana aside from being good for UTIs
There are other health benefits of bananas that go beyond treating or preventing urinary tract infections. This is because they are rich in nutrients such as potassium which is good for muscle and nerve health, and magnesium which is also good for bone strength and health.
For more in-depth information on the health benefits of bananas, read this article “Top 6 health benefits of Banana”.
Are there other foods or fruits apart from bananas that are good for urinary tract infections?
Yes, there are other foods or fruits apart from bananas that are good for urinary tract infections. Some of which include
Cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, and other berries promote urinary tract health and protect against infection with an important compound that helps fight bacteria and keeps it from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract.
One way to get large amounts of berries into your diet is through smoothies. Fresh or frozen berries offer a tasty option no matter what is in season.
Eating yogurt and other cultured dairy products (fermented with “good” bacteria) regularly may decrease the risk for urinary tract infections by up to 80 percent.
When selecting yogurt, it is important to look for a statement on the packaging that says “contains live and active cultures.” Yogurt contains good bacteria, active cultures that help prevent certain infections and boost the body’s immune system.
Yogurt is an effective way to keep your digestive system in good working order.
Foods that contain fiber
Lack of regular bowel movements can cause pressure in the urinary tract and block urine flow, allowing bacteria to grow.
A diet high in fiber paired with drinking enough water promotes healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Fiber won’t work without enough water in the diet.
Some of the best sources of fiber are whole-grain bread, apples, and legumes.
Foods that contain vitamin C
Fruits like oranges, clementines, lemons, strawberries, and green leafy vegetables packed with vitamin C make the urine more acidic, which helps prevent bacteria from growing in the system.
In addition, vitamin C helps cuts and wounds heal, boosts the immune system, helps your gums stay healthy, keeps infections at bay, and helps the body absorb iron from food sources.
Drinking plenty of water can also help with treating urinary tract infections and promoting urinary health in general. Drinking enough water helps flush bacteria from the urinary tract, which prevents infection and helps the digestive tract function regularly.
Treatment for urinary tract infections
Treatment of a UTI depends on its cause whether it is bacterial, viral or fungal.
- Bacterial UTIs are treated with antibiotics
- Viral UTIs are treated with medications called antivirals
- Fungal UTIs are treated with medications called antifungals.
Mostly, UTIs will be diagnosed using some laboratory investigations. Hence, your doctor or pharmacist may choose the medications for treatment based on the microorganisms that are identified in your urine sample.
The takeaway from this article
Urinary tract infections can be caused by many things and it is easily treatable depending on the type of infection. Certain foods or fruits are good for urinary tract infections and bananas are one of them.
Therefore, the next time you have a urinary tract infection, try adding bananas to your diet to help you fight off the UTI.