Vegetarian Diets Decrease Chance Of UTI, According To New Study

mbg Editorial Assistant By Christina Coughlin
mbg Editorial Assistant
Christina Coughlin is an editorial assistant at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in psychology and music.
Overhead of Plant Based Meal with Spinach, Cucumbers, Radishes, Mandarin Oranges

Image by Cameron Whitman / Stocksy

If you're looking for yet another reason to switch over to a plant-based diet, we have another benefit to add to the pro column: Researchers have discovered a meat-free diet may decrease the risk of contracting urinary tract infections.

UTIs are one of the most common infections in the world, and although there is treatment for this affliction, doctors still struggle with finding the best methods of prevention.

Researchers studied almost 10,000 members of the Taiwanese Buddhist population over a period of 10 years. Participants filled out questionnaires based on food eating and frequency habits, and researchers looked at who developed UTIs throughout the study. According to the results, a vegetarian diet was associated with a 16% lower risk of developing an infection.

Researchers noted that the reason for this link may be the fact that these infections are often associated with E. coli, a gut bacteria often coming from meats like pork and poultry. A recent study also found that plant-based eaters were less likely to contract food poisoning from E. coli, so the research adds up. With a plant-based diet, people can avoid common risks of infections and illness, along with reaping the environmental benefits of the practice.

Because UTIs are most commonly presented in women, researchers did not notice a strong impact on risk for men. In fact, men were 79% less likely to develop an infection, regardless of diet. 

While researchers suggest more studies on the relationship between these infections and diet are needed, they are hopeful based on what they discovered. Certain groups like diabetics and postmenopausal women can be more prone to these types of infection, so any possible method to decrease risk can be helpful.

Whether you're prone to UTIs or are just curious about the diet, check out our beginner's guide to eating plant-based.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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