Can You Really Treat Urinary Tract Infections With Berries?

Evidence suggests that some berries offer effective natural remedies for urinary tract infections

Doctors treat most urinary tract infections (UTIs) with antibiotics and similar medicines, and we don't want to dissuade you from pursuing such treatments when necessary. But as the evidence mounts, most physicians are coming around to the idea that some berries also offer nice home remedies for UTIs.javascript:void(0);

Adjunct Treatment

Let me emphasize that you shouldn't treat berries as a replacement for formal medical treatment; they should supplement it at best. On the other hand, most berries do have things to recommend them. They're loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, so whether they work for UTIs or not, it can't hurt to consume them.

In fact, self-medicating with berries is much more pleasant than taking most medications!

Drinking Cranberries

Many of us know that cranberry juice is a good way to clean out the old pipes, so to speak; and a 2002 study proved that it does work, at least better than a placebo. Ditto for cranberry tablets and capsules.

If you do decide to hoist a glass of the red stuff, pick the purest juice you can find, rather than a mix or cocktail containing other juices. Studies have shown that pure cranberry juice usually works best against UTIs. There are a few exceptions, however, which I'll discuss in a moment.

And Then There's the Blueberry

In recent years, researchers have found that blueberries can also do a bang-up of fighting UTIs. Epicatechin, a bioflavinoid found in cranberries, is present in blueberries as well. So how does that work? Apparently it attaches to your bladder lining and kicks infection-causing bacteria out into the urine flow.

Blueberry juice is fine if you prefer to take it that way, but eating fresh blueberries works, too. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can make them into a smoothie. No word yet on whether Your Humble Writer's favorite blueberry delivery system, blueberry yogurt, is as effective as the above.

But at least it gives me a great excuse to eat it.

Those Exceptions

Want a drinkable double whammy against UTIs? Simply mix blueberry juice with cranberry juice. The result may taste a bit odd, but it'll certainly taste better than most oral antibiotics.

You can also harness the natural goodness of the pineapple, which contains bromelain, a chemical shown to fight UTIs; and of course, pineapples are also rich in vitamin C. So you might want to mix pineapple juice in there too. If it makes you feel better, just think of pineapples as really large and bumpy berries.

Berries or not, mix pineapples with cranberries and blueberries, and you've got a formidable defense against those painful urinary tract infections.

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