How To Prevent UTI With Food: Green Smoothie Recipes For Urinary Tract Health
The dreaded “UTI.” There are several ways urinary tract infections can show up—in the kidneys, the bladder, the urethra, basically any part of the urinary system. While UTI is very common and treatable, there are simple ways to prevent UTI in the first place.
[Related: Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).]
To help you take a more proactive approach to urinary tract health and avoid UTI, I’ve got a list of foods for you that keep this system strong (bonus: they’re yummy!), along with some fantastic ways to use them in green smoothie recipes for urinary tract health.
In This Article
- Why Is Urinary Health Important?
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
- Prevent UTI: Foods and Herbs for Urinary Tract Health
- Green Smoothie Recipes for Urinary Tract Health
Why Is Urinary Health Important?
Peeing is a basic function of life, so of course we want to do that without issue! Aside from simply being able to let it flow when needed, here are a few other reasons urinary health is important:
- Elimination. Urination helps us eliminate waste and serves as a method of natural detoxification. Urinating regularly means your kidneys are able to do their job well. Sluggish kidneys can lead to urinary tract infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic issues.
- Electrolyte balance. The urinary system also controls the amount of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes are minerals that help balance your body’s pH as well as your its water levels. They also help move nutrients and waste in and out of the cells.
- Blood pressure regulation. Didn’t see this one coming, did you? It’s not an obvious connection, but healthy urination can reduce high blood pressure by altering water retention and, thus, blood volume.
[Related: Green Smoothies For High Blood Pressure]
Prevent UTI: Foods and Herbs for Urinary Tract Health
Because prevention is the best medicine, incorporate foods and herbs like the following into your daily diet to keep urinary function strong and avoid UTI:
- Bananas: Bananas contain potassium, which helps the body maintain its acid-alkaline balance. The more of an alkaline state the body is in, the less chance there is for bacteria to thrive.
- Avocado: Avocados contain potassium as well, but they're also ripe with choline, a vitamin that protects and supports the kidneys. This is a fiber-rich fruit, too. Why is that important for urinary health? It can reduce incontinence; constipation can put pressure on the bladder and make incontinence worse. Fiber helps our digestive system function properly, avoiding this issue.
- Nettles: Nettle is a healing herb used in many different applications, but here it’s great for the health of the bladder and is often used for healing UTI.1 The dried leaves can be used as a tea, which also makes a great base for smoothies.
- Cranberries: According to Harvard Health, cranberries can keep bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract.2 Go for the whole cranberry instead of the juice to keep sugar intake low. Blueberries can also provide this same benefit.
- Broccoli: A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research noted that folks who regularly eat cruciferous vegetables (like kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and, most notably, broccoli) have a reduced risk of developing bladder cancer.3
- Citrus fruits: Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, and other citrus has potent anti-inflammatory qualities, so those suffering from urinary tract infection can look to these fruits to help calm symptoms.
- Kefir: This probiotic beverage is most often made from cow’s milk, but you can find coconut water kefir at the store (or make your own for a lot less; here’s how I make coconut water kefir). This helps the good bacteria in your digestive system flourish to help keep out the bad guys that could contribute to a urinary infection.
- Water: Stay hydrated! Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to help naturally add some alkalinity to your glass. Or use an ionizing filter on your tap to get alkaline water, the quickest way to hydrate every cell and counter disease-causing acidity.
Green Smoothies for UTI Prevention and Urinary Tract Health
Smoothies are the easiest way to get loads of fruits and veggies into one meal. I rounded up a few recipes that incorporate the foods above and additional pro-urinary system ingredients for the ultimate healing smoothie collection.
Boost any of these recipes by adding TriOmega powder. It contains sprouted ground broccoli seed, which is the best source of sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound that helps prevent UTI by keeping organs like the kidney and bladder healthy.
A healing dessert? That’s how this green smoothie tastes! Like your favorite ice cream sundae—without the tummy-troubling dairy. Try to use raw cacao powder if you can; it has the most antioxidant benefits to add to this already nutrient-packed recipe. If you can’t make your own homemade kefir, you should be able to find it at any health food store like Whole Foods Market.
- 1 cup coconut kefir
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 large spoonful natural peanut butter
- 1 spoonful cacao powder
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 handful frozen strawberries
- ¼ cup pineapple
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- Shake of powdered kelp (optional)
Blend until smooth.
Fresh herbs in my smoothies always give me summer vibes, even if it’s the middle of winter! This recipe has several of the above foods helpful for urinary health, with bonus apple. Apple also contains potassium, so if you’re not into bananas in your smoothies, apples can be a suitable replacement for this nutrient. For some banana-free creaminess, adding avocado does the trick and brings plenty of fiber with it as well.
- 1 peach
- 1 apple
- ½ avocado
- 3-4 large kale leaves
- a few mint leaves
- 1 ½ cups water (or cooled nettle tea)
- 4 ice cubes
Blend until smooth.
This recipe makes a big batch, so either plan to have a big meal or consume it in smaller portions throughout the day. As the directions say, you can always freeze for later and retain nutrient quality if you find that the serving is too much for one sitting. Also, make sure the coconut yogurt contains probiotics (you can make it at home or purchase at a health food store) so you can get the biggest bang for your buck with these ingredients.
- 1 1/4 cups water/ice
- 1/2 cup coconut yogurt
- 1 large leaf swiss chard, including stem
- 1 large leaf collard greens, including stem
- spinach, added until mixture reaches 3-cup line
- 1/4 cup raw, organic honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 banana, frozen in chunks
- 1 1/2 apples
- Blend first six ingredients until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving. Alternatively, you can freeze portions in the jars (leaving some room at the top for expansion) and take out the night before you need it to thaw in the refrigerator.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, kidney cancer is the sixth and eighth most common cancer in men and women, respectively.4 Broccoli contains sulforaphane glucosinolates, which are anti-cancer compounds found in cruciferous vegetables.
We want to make sure all parts of our urinary systems are taken care of, and this smoothie is a great way to get an extra serving of healing veggies in your day. You can use broccolini or Chinese broccoli, too, or the leafier broccoli rabe (this can be found at Italian and Asian markets).
- 1 1/2 cups water/ice
- 2 tbsp raw, organic honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup broccoli (florets and/or stems)
- spinach, added until mixture reaches 2.5-cup line
- 1 orange, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup pineapple, chopped
- 1 banana, frozen in chunks
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- Blend first four ingredients until smooth. Add fruit and blend again until smooth.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in glass jars and shake well before serving.
If you never grew out of your childhood dislike of brussels sprouts—I can relate! But I do want their amazing anti-cancer benefits, and tossing them in a smoothie works great for me. You get all the benefits of the healing enzymes without tasting the earthiness of the cruciferous veggie. It’s also paired with flavorful banana, citrus, and berries so you’ll never notice a thing!
- 3 cups water
- 10 large brussels sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
- spinach, add until the blender reaches the 6 cup line
- 2 peeled oranges
- 3 cups frozen mixed berries
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1/2 tsp raw honey
- Place the first three ingredients into a high-powered blender and mix until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend again.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Shake well before serving.
While this isn’t a green smoothie, it’s a great recipe to have in your arsenal of urinary-health beverages; it has helped four generations of my family beat infections and stay healthy! Raw honey is important to retain its highly beneficial enzymes, as is making sure the apple cider vinegar is raw. You’ll want its probiotics! These living components are why we don’t want the water to be too hot; otherwise they’ll die off, and the perks of this drink will be lost. You want it warm enough to be able to stick your finger in it, but not so hot that it’ll burn you. See the directions for how to take this elixir when you feel a UTI coming on.
- 4 cups hot (not boiling) water
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (or blend the entire flesh of the lemon)
- 2 tbsp raw honey (raw is important!)
- ½” to 1” fresh ginger root, peeled
- ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar (raw is important!)
- cayenne pepper (as much as you can tolerate)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (optional)
- Blend all ingredients in a high-power blender. Drink one cup at the first symptom of illness, and another cup every two hours, or as desired.
- Do not reheat the elixir, as this will damage enzymes and nutrients. Drink room temperature or cold after you refrigerate the remaining portion. It will last a week in the fridge, but you can freeze portions in canning jars for future use.
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
- Ehrlich, Steven D. “Stinging nettle.” TriHealth. January 1, 2017.
- “Stay a step ahead of urinary tract infections.” Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. February 2015.
- Abbaoui, Besma et al. “Inhibition of Bladder Cancer by Broccoli Isothiocyanates Sulforaphane and Erucin: Characterization, Metabolism and Interconversion.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2012 Oct 5. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200276
- “Kidney Cancer: Statistics.” Cancer.Net. American Society of Clinical Oncology. January 2019.
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