HealthDay News — A vegetarian diet is associated with a reduced risk for urinary tract infection (UTI), according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

Yen-Chang Chen, from the Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues prospectively followed 9,724 Buddhists free of UTI from 2005 to 2014 to examine the association between vegetarian diet and UTI risk. A food frequency questionnaire was used to assess diet.

A total of 661 incident UTI cases were confirmed during 10-year follow-up. The researchers found that a vegetarian diet was associated with a reduced risk for UTI (hazard ratio, 0.84) in an analysis adjusted for age, sex, educational level, alcohol drinking, smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and disease conditions predisposing to UTI. In subgroup analyses, the association between vegetarian diet and UTI was mainly seen in women, in never smokers, and for uncomplicated UTI (hazard ratios, 0.82, 0.80, and 0.81, respectively).

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“Previous research suggested that meat-related foodborne extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli may be the main cause of uncomplicated UTIs and a half of complicated UTIs,” the authors write. “Consistent with this finding, we found that the protective association between vegetarian diet and UTI risk was mainly in uncomplicated rather than complicated UTI, and this association is independent of diseases and risk factors predisposing conditions to complicated UTI, including hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.”

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