6 Foods To Keep Your Vagina Healthy That, TBH, You're Probably Already Eating
When you walk into your kitchen first thing in the morning, you probably check your fridge for foods that will taste delicious and give you lots of energy for the day ahead. I'm willing to bet that you don't usually plan your meals around your vagina, unless, maybe, you're on your period and searching for as much chocolate as you can get your hands on. Snacking on foods that can help to keep your vagina healthy doesn't just mean drinking the occasional glass of cranberry juice to ward off a UTI. You might be surprised to learn that some of your favorite foods can have some major benefits for keeping things moist (I'm sorry), strong, and able to fight infections.
"The vagina is our second gut," says Dr. Serena Goldstein, a naturopathic doctor in New York City specializing in hormones and endocrinology. In other words, if you're having gut health issues — like, say, if you're burping more than usual, experiencing more bloating than you're used to, feeling constipated a lot, or you've noticed a white coating on your tongue — you might not initially realize it, but these could all be possible signs that your vagina isn't at a healthy pH level, Dr. Goldstein tells Elite Daily. "If it's at a healthy pH, no itching, redness, or irritation should be present," she adds.
When it comes to vaginal health in general, it's important to remember that your vagina isn't meant to be completely odorless and dry all the time, says Julie Lamb, MD, FACOG, member of the Modern Fertility medical advisory board. Of course, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what's "normal" for your vagina, and what might be cause for concern. "There is a wide variety of normal, physiologic discharge, and smells," she tells Elite Daily. "What isn't considered healthy is a foul or fishy smell, unusual white, gray, or green discharge, or vaginal itching."
While visual signs are great indications of your vaginal health, if you want to be extra sure, pharmacist, wellness expert, and author, Dr. Lindsey Elmore, recommends trying out a home vaginal pH test kit. "Each test is slightly different, so follow the instructions carefully," she tells Elite Daily in an email. "You want vaginal pH to be between 3.8 and 4.5, and pH higher than this indicates a potential bacterial infection and lower pH may indicate a yeast infection," she explains.
Eating certain foods certainly shouldn't be a substitute for standard vaginal care — i.e. visiting your OB/GYN annually, using unscented soaps when you shower, wiping from front to back, etc. — but if you're curious, here are some tasty options that can help things run smoothly down there.
Pile on the avocado
"One of my personal favorite foods, avocado, offers benefits not only in heart-healthy fats," says Serena Poon, culinary alchemist, celebrity nutrition and wellness coach, and founder of the superfood supplement Just Add Water, "but those same fats and vitamins actually help with enhancing lubrication and strengthening of the vaginal walls."
Load up the leafy greens
"Discharge" isn't exactly the most pleasant word in the world, but let's be real, nobody wants a bone-dry vagina, right?
According to Poon, dark leafy greens are high in nutrients that can help to purify your blood and enhance circulation, which "helps to prevent vaginal dryness as well as increase sensitivity to stimulation," she tells Elite Daily.
Dig into some cranberries
You've probably heard that cranberry juice can be a holy grail when it comes to urinary tract infections. "Perhaps the most well-known food that supports vaginal health is cranberries, because cranberries contain ingredients called PACs (A-type proanthocyanidins)," explains Dr. Elmore. "These molecules help prevent urinary tract infections by interfering with the way that bacteria stick to the bladder wall," she says.
But, Dr. Elmore adds, the concentration of PACs isn't strong enough in cranberry juice, so she instead recommends eating the fruit in its full form.
Serve up the kimchi
I'm beginning to think that there's nothing that fermented foods can't do, especially since Dr. Elmore recommends adding them to your diet to keep your vagina healthy. "Fermented plants like kimchi, miso, tempeh, and pickles help to balance vaginal pH and this reduces the risk of infection," she says.
Snack on some salmon
If you always opt for a salmon roll when you go out for sushi, you're doing your body lots of good. According to Dr. Goldstein, foods rich in healthy fats help to balance your blood sugar (a common theme that throws off pH, as bacteria thrive on sugar, she explains). A delicious salmon filet can also help to keep your hormones balanced. If you aren't a meat eater, almonds are a great alternative with similar benefits, Dr. Goldstein adds.
Don't forget the water
The most effective tips for vaginal care aren't necessarily complicated, nor do they all require you to buy super expensive ingredients and foods. In fact, just carrying around a water bottle can do wonders. "One of the easiest ways to keep up vaginal health is to stay hydrated with plenty of water," suggests Poon. "Since the vagina is a mucus surface, keeping yourself hydrated also means that you’re hydrating those membranes."