Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Nutrition and Fitness for Better Health

Sexually transmitted disease (STD), as the name implies, is transmitted via sexual intercourse in most cases; therefore your lifestyle choices regarding physical intimacy play a major role in determining your risk for STD.
Keep in mind that these diseases are prevalent in today’s society, with an estimated 500 new cases of STD in Singapore each year. STDs affect anybody—at any age, gender, sexual preference, race, and economic status—and more than half of these cases are in younger people aging fifteen to twenty five.


Infections are primarily passed on through direct skin-to-skin contact and exchange of body fluids. They are not transmitted through casual contact such as shaking hands, hugging, or talking with a person. Even public toilets do not pass on STDs from one person to another.

Pubic lice, or ‘crabs’, is the only exception to the rule. Although most STDs are spread through sexual contact, these insects can cling to clothing or bed linens and then be passed to another individual who is in contact with the lice-infested material. This is the reason why it’s important not to take off your underwear when trying on clothes in stores, especially bikinis and swimsuits.

Type of Sexual Contact

Anal intercourse poses the highest possibility of passing an infection, because the anal lining is much thinner and more delicate than vaginal lining. Therefore, anal penetration can easily cause microscopic tears or trauma, which reduces the body’s natural barriers against infections. If you’re someone who has had anal sex before, it would be advisable to see a doctor for STD testing.

Sexual Preference

Infections can be passed through anal, oral, or vaginal intercourse; so whatever sexual identity or sexual preferences you may have, it will not make you invulnerable to STDs. However, as a group, men who have sex with men (MSM) are more prone to syphilis and HIV and should do std screening in SIngapore, while women who have sex with women (WSW) have the lowest risk of catching and transmitting STDs. However, take note that a quarter of the new HIV cases are passed on through heterosexual contact.


Make sure your health check-ups include STD screening and discussions about vaccines that help prevent STDs. HPV vaccines, like Cervarix and Gardasil, and hepatitis B vaccines can now be given at birth. If you have not been vaccinated since, you can ask your healthcare provider on what vaccines is best for your age and for the infections you want to protect yourself from.

Drugs and Alcohol Use

Your lifestyle will also determine your susceptibility to infections. If your lifestyle choices include excessive use of alcohol, prohibited drugs, and marijuana, an STD testing would be beneficial since you have higher risk of getting an infection. Using injectable drugs and sharing of needles can directly transmit infections like hepatitis A and B and HIV, which can all be detected in an STD screening.

Immunity Boosting Foods

Apart from STD testing, make sure you are eating the right foods to boost your immune system and keep any infections at bay. Here’s what you need to include in your diet for stronger and healthier immune system.

Foods Rich in Vitamin C
It’s no secret how vitamin C strengthens the ability of the immune system to fight foreign bodies. Other than citrus fruits, leafy greens are some of the best source of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, and this includes from kale and spinach to dark lettuces. Long with vitamin C, these vegetables are also excellent sources of beta-carotene, iron, folate, carotenoids, phytochemicals, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Fermented Food
Fermented foods have the ability to restore the body’s natural pH level. In fact, yogurt is one of the most effective solutions for yeast infections in women. Although it cannot cure the infection your may have, if definitely helps in keeping symptoms to minimal.

Cranberry Juice
In many STD cases in Singapore, the bladder or the urinary tract is affected. Cranberry juice is a helpful in such cases. Regularly drinking this juice kills some of the bacteria and helps relieve the irritation or the burning sensation you may be experiencing when urinating. Other than consuming cranberry juice, you may also take cranberry supplements.

Whole Grains
Whole grains contain nutritional elements that are stripped away from refined grains. Selenium, folate, ad B vitamins are some of the vital components of whole grains that contribute for healthier immune system. Have at least three servings a day of barley, whole wheat, millet, rye, wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, or whole grain breads, cereals, and pasta to help your body naturally fight infections.

Meat, Poultry, and Fish
These foods contain high ratio of lysine to arginine, two essential amino acids that always go together and are associated with herpes. According to specialists, herpes virus needs the amino acid arginine to reproduce. Lysine, on the other hand, counteracts the growth-stimulating properties of arginine on herpes and promotes growth of arginase, an enzyme that breaks down arginine. Besides amino acids, these foods are great sources of minerals like iron and zinc—low levels of which can contribute to the risk of herpes outbreaks.

Cruciferous Vegetables
There have been some evidences that a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli, can inhibit the growth of herpes-infected cells. Although this has not undergone extensive researches yet, it doesn’t seem harmful to include these green veggies into your daily diet.

Strengthening your system is one good way to become less prone from infections. However, it is far more important to be open with your partner about your sexual history and health. Talk to a healthcare professional and discuss about getting an STD test for you and your partner.