Vegetarians, rejoice! You may have a lower risk of developing UTIs

Updated on: 31 January 2020, 14:04 pm IST

If you are someone whose diet is devoid of all the meat-based products, chances are that you might be at reduced risk of developing UTIs.

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vegetarian diet
Urinary tract infections can cause extreme discomfort. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common types of infections that has now impacted scores of people, especially women, across the globe. Usually caused by the gut bacteria, such as E. coli, UTI has been linked with vegetarian diet as per the new revelations drawn by researchers from the Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation in Taiwan.

According to the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, a vegetarian diet may be associated with a lower risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Previous research has shown 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 researchers assessed the incidence of UTIs in 9,724 Buddhists in Taiwan, who participated in the Tzu Chi Vegetarian Study, a study investigating the role of a vegetarian diet on health outcomes in Taiwanese Buddhists.

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The researchers found that the overall risk of UTIs was 16 lower in vegetarians than in non-vegetarians. According to the study, of the 3,040 vegetarians in the study, 217 developed a UTI compared to 444 UTI cases in 6,684 non-vegetarians studied.

Apart from this, the reduced UTI risk associated with a vegetarian diet was greater in men than women, although overall UTI risk for men was 79 lower than for women, regardless of diet, the research added.

The study suggests that by not eating common sources of E. coli, such as poultry and pork, vegetarians may avoid ingesting E. coli that may cause UTIs.

A high-fibre diet of many vegetarians may prevent the growth of E. coli in the gut and decrease UTI risk by making the intestine more acidic.

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