Peach Pie-lets

These single-serving peach pies (“pie-lets”) are delicious and very cute, ideal for a special end to any meal. I don’t use butter, shortening, sugar, salt, or white flour in my recipes, so I’m using a cookie crust, which I like even better than traditional crust. Print Peach Pie-lets Prep time:  30 mins Cook time:  25 mins...

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40 Whole Food Vegan Delicious Desserts

Dessert can be decadent without damaging your health goals. Opting for whole grain flours, whole food sweeteners, and oil-free options enables infinite versatility for wholesome, healthy deliciousness! *Notes: Opt for 100% pure maple syrup, date paste, or date syrup when applicable instead of agave, coconut nectar, or honey and (mineral-rich) blackstrap molasses if the strong taste works in a …

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Apple Crisp

This apple crisp is a perfect “anytime” dessert. I like to use Granny Smith apples because they soften nicely but still retain their shape. However, others may be used as well, such as a Gala, Fuji, or Pink Lady. Using a mix of apples is also fun. Print Apple Crisp Prep time:  30 mins Cook time:  30 mins...

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Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie

This delicious pie is similar to pumpkin pie but it is made with sweet potatoes (or yams) instead of pumpkin. The filling is sweetened with dates, thickened with a little oat flour, and the Pecan-Date Crust is just like a sweet, crumbly cookie! Note: As mentioned above, this pie can be made with yellow-brown sweet...

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Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

There’s nothing like a soft, homemade, oatmeal-raisin cookie! Dates and almond butter stand in for the more traditional ingredients of butter, eggs, and refined sugar. These cookies are rich and sweet, but without being heavy and greasy. Print Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  13 mins Total time:  28 mins Serves: 8 to 9 (makes...

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Granola

Finding a granola that doesn’t contain oil is nearly impossible. This is another food that can be perfectly delicious (and still crunchy) without added oil. Making your own homemade granola is very easy, and you don’t even need a food dehydrator. Print Granola Prep time:  15 mins Cook time:  60 mins Total time:  1 hour...

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Preventing Bacterial Vaginosis With Diet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preventing Bacterial Vaginosis With Diet

In the same way fermented pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut foster the growth of good bacteria by maintaining an acidic environment, so does the human vagina. The normal pH of one’s vagina is that of tomato juice. However, once it starts creeping up to that of coffee, an overgrowth of bad bacteria can take hold and cause bacterial vaginosis, which affects an astounding 29 percent of American women, nearly 1 in 3. That makes it the most frequent cause of vaginal complaints among younger women. It’s commonly diagnosed with the so-called "Whiff Test," where the doctor takes a whiff of the vaginal discharge, sniffing for the characteristic fishy odor.

The fishy odor is a consequence of a compound of decay called putrescine, which is also found in certain foods. More about these “biogenic amines” in:

Traditional risk factors for bacterial vaginosis include douching, which has also been associated with a wide range of problems. With no demonstrable benefits and considerable evidence of harm, douching should be strongly discouraged. Medical professionals need to clearly explain to women that the vagina is naturally self-cleaning.

Nasal douching, though, is another matter entirely. See The Risks and Benefits of Neti Pot Nasal Irrigation and my answer about the “brain-eating amoeba.”

Recently, poor nutrition has been added to the list of risk factors for bacterial vaginosis. Women appear more likely to get bacterial vaginosis if they have lower circulating levels of phytonutrients like vitamin C and beta carotene in your bloodstream—indicating a lower intake of fruits and vegetables. In recent years, though, the field of nutrition has shifted toward examining overall dietary scores as opposed to single nutrients, because it has become recognized that nutrients are not consumed in isolation. To help consumers eat healthier foods, nutrient-rich food indices have been devised. Using these indices, researchers have found that the more nutrient rich one’s diet, the lower one’s apparent risk for bacterial vaginosis.

Why might a healthier diet improve vaginal health? Researchers suggest that high fat intake, particularly saturated fat may increase vaginal pH, thereby increasing the risk of bacterial vaginosis. As you can see in the associated video Bacterial Vaginosis and Diet, most saturated fat in the American diet comes from dairy, desserts, and chicken. The researchers conclude: “The next steps ahead include sharing these findings with gynecologists, obstetricians, and general practitioners, as well as increasing the awareness of the general community to the importance of optimal nutrition… to prevent infections of the genital tract, reduce associated disease, and maintain reproductive health.”

More on the detrimental effects of saturated fat in videos such as:

More on vaginal health in Treating Genital Warts With Green Tea and more on achieving maximum nutrient density in Calculate Your Healthy Eating Score.

What about male reproductive health? See Male Fertility and Diet.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Flickr

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