Once you realize your whole body works together to create balance, everything changes. One of the most important parts of this is what’s called pH balance, or, homeostasis. Both are the goal, yet they have slightly different meanings. The “pH” refers to the acid-base balance in our body. “Homeostasis” refers to the ideal body temperature, which we all know is 98.6° F. Our bodies have the innate ability to achieve and constantly work toward both these goals. That’s amazing in itself, but giving our bodies extra support through our diets is also important.
Vaginal health is no different than any other system—heart, brain, gut, skin—in our body. OK, maybe it’s not the most important, but if you think about how all our systems work together, you may consider making a little extra effort to ensure good vaginal health. Our bodies naturally work to maintain a normal pH balance between 6.2 and 7.6, but here’s the kicker: our vagina, as well as some other areas in the body, need a lower pH in order to fend off harmful bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens that leave their mark on our vagina. This area thrives at a much more acidic pH level, between 3.8 and 4.5.
If you have ever experienced discomfort in this area, pay close attention. Why? Because just like the rest of the body, food can play a huge part in maintaining vaginal health. Here are a few important things to look out for:
1) Probiotics: you can take this as a supplement, but I recommend eating them! Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt are famous for adding healthy bacteria to the body, including the vaginal area.
2) Omega 3: you know, that thing found in fish, including wild-caught salmon (not to worry, taking it doesn’t translate to smelling like a fish!) Any vaginal odor is bad, but believe it or not, foods high in omega 3 can fend off those odors.
3) Plant-based fats: think nuts, seeds (like chia), olive oil, and avocados. These not only help create a great hormone balance, they can also help regulate pH levels.
4) Vitamin C: this is found in many of the fruits you likely already love, including citrus fruits, strawberries, and other berries. This is one of the strongest components for fighting off any free radicals.
The key is this: if you make healthy lifestyle choices most of the time, things will fall into place. The vagina is no different than the other organs and systems in the body. Here’s one of my favorite recipes that can help in a time of need:
Banana Split Smoothie Bowl
Half a frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen cherries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 cup 2-percent plain Greek yogurt
Big handful of spinach or other dark leafy greens
Splash of unsweetened coconut water or milk as needed, for blending
Place the above ingredients in a blender and mix until combined. Top with any or all of the following ingredients:
Half a banana
4-5 thawed frozen cherries
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cacao nibs