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.