Herbs for Women’s Health

Foods to Improve Vaginal Health and the Practice of Vaginal Steaming

Foods that Improve Vaginal Health
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When it comes to our health, nutrition reigns all-important.

When it comes to the delicate balance of vaginal health, this could not be more true.

Vaginal health is something many women struggle with at some point in their lives as part of the natural cycle of development, maturity, and finally menopause. Yeast and bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, and a host of irritations can be unpleasant, painful, and uncomfortable. About 75% of women get at least one yeast infection during their lifetime, and if you have ever suffered one, you know that it is a real nuisance and can disturb quite a few areas of your life.

You are not alone!

Foods and drinks have a different effect on the body’s pH; some promote your health and vigor, while others are not so supportive of it. Not surprisingly, what we eat also has an effect on the vagina and vaginal health. Often, the key to improving your intimate well-being lies in what you put on your plate.

An emphasis on Nutrition

Here is a list of some common foods that will help you strengthen and preserve your vaginal health:

Natural yogurt and other probiotics

Eating probiotics plays an important role in maintaining the vaginal pH at its slightly acidic level, and warding off yeast infections. Probiotics, also referred to as the ‘good’ or ‘beneficial’ bacteria, keep your gut healthy, thus supporting the well-being of the whole body and balancing the body’s pH.

The best sources include fermented foods like natural yoghurt (Greek yogurt), miso, kimchi, sauerkrauts and kefir (you can also use kefir to cleanse your colon). When buying your yogurt, make sure to go for the one that contains live and active cultures and avoid sugary and flavored yogurts that will do little for your vaginal health.

The jury is still out on the benefits of drinking kombucha (a beverage made by fermenting tea) if suffering from a yeast infection. While some hail this drink for its probiotic effects, others advise not to consume it while fighting a yeast-overgrowth due to the sugar and yeast it contains (these two are food for organisms – such as a candida – that cause yeast infections).

Cranberry juice

Pure cranberry juice is well known for its beneficial effect on the bladder. It both prevents and relives the symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTI). Cranberries acidify the urine and balance the pH of the vaginal area. They contain acidic compounds that don’t get broken down when they travel though the digestive system, so they can fight the bacteria that cause urinary infections.

Most store-bought cranberry juices unfortunately contain way too much sugar to serve its healing purpose. Your best bet is to either look for pure, unsweetened cranberry juice or eat fresh cranberries. Unsweetened cranberries do taste tart and many people find them unpalatable. Try mixing them in your yogurt or sweeten them with honey which will not disturb your vaginal pH.

Nature’s Bounty Triple Strength Cranberry with Vitamin C, 25,200 mg, 60 Softgels

For a more convenient form of getting cranberries into your diet, check out Nature’s Bounty supplement with Vitamin C, an extra bonus!

This is definitely one way to get around that tart taste and still get the fruity compounds you need.

Garlic for vaginal health
Garlic for vaginal health

Garlic

Garlic is known for its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For best results, eat this ancient remedy raw and try to avoid these 6 common mistakes when using garlic as a medicine. If you suffer from a yeast (candida) infection, a garlic vaginal suppository (garlic pessary) is recommended – it effectively kills the yeasts and soothes the symptoms of the infection, which include itchiness and soreness. As odd as it might sound, you simply insert a clove of fresh, peeled garlic into your vagina and leave it overnight. You can design a sort of a tampon by wrapping the garlic in a gauze or cheesecloth before inserting it. Repeat the treatment for three consecutive nights.

The active ingredient in garlic is called allicin – it is responsible for garlic’s potent smell and its healing effect. True, consuming and using a lot of raw garlic might temporarily give you a distinct odor, but this is not a lot to put up with in exchange for a healthy and vibrant vagina.

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a part of a balanced diet that also supports your vaginal health. Certain vitamins and minerals found in fresh veggies and fruits are particularly good.

Vitamin C is a well-known immune system booster. Citrus fruits, guava, strawberries, kiwifruit, green and red peppers and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C.

Leafy greens should be consumed in abundance. They help with the circulation and prevent vaginal dryness. Try to eat plenty of spinach, kale, cabbage, salad, Swiss chard, collards and other leafy greens. If you find it hard to eat them by themselves, mix them in a smoothie or sautéed them.

Avocado is another wonder of nature that stimulates vaginal health and also helps with the libido. Avocados contain B6 and potassium and support healthy vaginal walls.

Seeds and nuts

Adding nuts to your daily nutrition is a positive step to improving your wellness and overall health since nuts are both a source of protein and healthy fats. Vitamin E prevents vaginal dryness and can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, as well as in the oils derived from these nuts. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc. This essential mineral regulates the menstrual cycle and helps combat itching and other symptoms of dryness.

Flaxseed is another super-food that is good to include in your diet on a regular basis. Rich in phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids, it helps to boost estrogen levels and stops vaginal dryness. It is important to consume ground flaxseed in order to enjoy their benefits.

Water

Agua! The mucous vaginal membranes require plenty of water. To function properly, they need to stay well-hydrated. The best way to achieve this is by drinking sufficient amounts of water. At least six to eight 8-ounces glasses of water should be drank each day (~1.5 to 2 liters). Water helps to lubricate your vagina and also diminishes the smell of your private parts.

Foods to avoid

If vaginal health is your priority, steer clear of certain foods. Products that disturb vaginal (and body) pH and contain nutrients bacteria and yeast feed on should be avoided, especially while you are trying to heal an infection. The main offenders include:

  • sugars
  • alcohols (these also contain sugars)
  • wheat

Often, the best way to treat a candida infection is to starve the yeast – these organisms are very fond of sugary environments, therefore a strict low carb diet is recommended. Yes, I know, we must avoid binge-ing on the ice cream 🙂 Some also advise skipping foods that contain yeasts, such as beer and bread.

Yeast love sugar!
Yeast love sugar!

Generally speaking, if you want to enjoy a healthy vagina, you should stick to a balanced diet, avoid processed and sugar-rich foods and eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits.  Also, avoiding activities such as douching, panty perfume, and wearing not-so-breathable underwear and, of course, always practicing safe-sex and regular visits to the gyno help a bunch, too!

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For more reading on tips for all-natural female reproductive health and fertility, check out the Women’s Health section here at Eupterra Foundation.

Did you know that you can cleanse and detox your vagina? Detoxing your vagina may sound odd but women, especially among the Asian cultures, have been doing it for centuries to regulate their menstrual cycles, reduce stress, fight infection, clear hemorrhoids, and aid fertility.

What is V-Steam?

Vaginal steam baths, popularly dubbed the V-steam baths, aim to cleanse, detox and tone up your vaginal lips, vaginal walls, cervix, and uterus. You sit over a pot or bowl of herbal infused steam that rises into the vagina.

Although vaginal steaming became popular in the recent years and is now being offered by some more progressive spas and holistic health clinics, this treatment is no novice to the world of health and beauty. It has been known for centuries in Central and South America as ‘bajos’, and as ‘chai-yok’ in Korea. While there is still no scientific evidence to support V-steam benefits, this age-old technique has been widely used by Korean women as stress and infertility remedy. It is now being rediscovered once again.

Health benefits of Vaginal Steaming

Vaginal steaming is supposed to help in the treatment of the following conditions and problems according to traditional medicine:

  • Bladder and yeast infections
  • Vaginal cysts
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infertility
  • Irregular and painful periods
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Perennial tears
  • Scarring from caesarian section
  • Recovery from hysterectomies and laparoscopies

Similar to other forms of steaming, vaginal steaming too helps with stress and anxiety reduction. If you just think about how you feel after taking a soothing herbal sauna, this last benefit rings true.

Check out this book (only $2.99 on Kindle!) on how to perform a vaginal detox through steaming to learn more:

Healing Through Vaginal Steaming
Healing Through Vaginal Steaming

For an herbal pouch used in this steaming detox, check out this Yoni steaming (aka Vaginal steaming) pouch at Eupterra’s page.

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