If you happen to be the one in your group who is leg-pulled for being vegetarian, then here's an answer you have for your friends. You can now tell them, vegetarian diet is good for health because this may help in lowering urinary tract infection (UTI) risk. For the unversed, UTI is common in women, which occurs in the bladder, causing pelvic pain, increased urge to urinate, pain with urination et al. The more severe infections involve the kidney as well, which may cause back pain, nausea and other symptoms. A recent study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, revealed that vegetarian diet may be associated with a lower risk of UTIs.
According to the study researchers from Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation in Taiwan, this infection is usually caused by the gut bacteria such as E. coli, which enters the urinary tract through the urethra and affect the kidneys and bladder. As per a report in IANS, a previous research showed that meat is a major reservoir for E. coli strains known to cause UTIs, but it is unknown whether avoiding meat reduces the risk of UTIs.
For the study, the research team assessed the incidence of UTIs in 9,724 Buddhists in Taiwan, who participated in the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study. This is a study that investigated the role of vegetarian diet on health outcomes in Taiwanese Buddhists. The researchers found that the overall risk of UTIs was 16 percent lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians.
The study also found that the reduced UTI risk associated with a vegetarian diet was greater in men than women, although overall UTI risk for men was 79 percent lower than for women, regardless of diet. The study further suggested that by not eating common sources of E. coli such as poultry and pork, vegetarians may avoid ingesting E. coli, which causes UTIs.
The researchers also proposed that vegetarian diet with higher fibre intake may prevent the growth of E. coli in the gut and decrease UTI risk by making the intestine more acidic. They concluded by saying that further study, with identification of pathogens from urine culture, is needed to clarify the relationship among UTI risk, pathogens, and vegetarian diet.