The best (and not so great) foods for a healthy vaginal microbiome
Want to support your lady bits? Forget douches that upset your microbes and focus on your diet instead.Your vagina does a pretty good job of looking after itself, thanks to some amazing microbes from the Lactobacillus family of beneficial bacteria. Since your diet affects these microbes, here are some of the best – and not so great – foods for healthy vaginal flora.
Omega-3 has numerous benefits for your body. You’ll find these healthy fatty acids in oily fish, such as salmon and tuna and in nuts, seeds and plant oils.
Betacarotene is a powerful antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A. Your vaginal microbes benefit from betacarotene.
You’ll find lots of betacarotene in red, orange and yellow veggies, like sweet potatoes, carrots and capsicums, and in dark, leafy greens, like spinach, kale and broccoli.
That’s a type of fibre that your body can’t digest. In the process, it becomes fuel for the friendly bacteria (probiotics) that keep your microbiome healthy – and that can include your vaginal microbiome.
Many foods contain prebiotics: vegetables like Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions, beetroot, asparagus, sweetcorn and green peas; legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans; and fruit including custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, watermelon and grapefruit. Then there’s rye bread, wheat bran and oats.
There are many strains of these health-promoting bacteria, but your vagina particularly likes Lactobacillus, which can help to maintain your healthy vaginal flora by making it harder for other microbes to grow.
So, how can you eat Lactobacillus? Yoghurt’s a great option – but it needs to contain ‘live and active’ cultures or probiotics. As a source of beneficial bacteria, Lactobacillus-rich yoghurt are good for the number of bacteria in your vagina.
You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement to complement your dietary efforts. Women’s Microflora Probiotic by Life-Space contains six strains of Lactobacillus, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus (GR-1®) and Lactobacillus reuteri (RC-14®), which can help to restore and balance vaginal flora, and Lactobacillus crispatus, one of the most common Lactobacillus species present in a healthy vaginal microbiome.
The not so great
If the best foods for your vagina are all healthy options, it won’t surprise you to learn that the not so great foods for your lady bits are the usual suspects in any unhealthy diet:
Foods with a high glycaemic load (GL)
Everyone’s blood sugar rises after eating carbs. How high it rises and how long it stays there depend on the food’s glycaemic load; the combined effect of the type of carbs it contains and the size of a typical serving. Foods with a high GL include sugary drinks, confectionary, white rice and pasta, and couscous. Long-term exposure to post-meal spikes in blood sugar may affect your vagina’s microbial balance.
They may be convenient, but processed foods can sometimes change your microbial balance, so it’s best to steer clear of these when you can.
With the above in mind, why not consider adding more of our recommended, vagina-friendly foods to you diet. You could even consider complementing your beneficial bacteria with our Life-Space Women’s Microflora Probiotic!
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements should not replace a balanced diet.