Maintaining a healthy bladder is important for your overall well-being and can also be influenced by the foods and beverages you consume. While some dietary choices can help prevent illnesses, others may contribute to bladder-related issues. Here are seven simple steps you can take to improve your bladder health according to experts.
1. Incorporate lemon and lime into your diet
The citric acid found in these fruits can help prevent kidney stones. You can add natural lemon or lime juice to water, use them in salad dressings, sprinkle them onto food for added flavor, or prepare homemade lemonade or limeade (without added sugar). Aim to consume about half a cup of lemon or lime juice daily. Lemon water and lemonade are often promoted as natural remedies for common urological issues like kidney stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and urinary incontinence.
However, Shenelle Wilson of Urology Unbound warns that it is crucial to distinguish between the two. While lemon water can offer potential benefits, lemonade, on the other hand, is often loaded with bladder irritants such as sugar, artificial coloring, and flavoring. Therefore, individuals seeking the advantages of lemon water should avoid substituting it with lemonade to ensure they are not inadvertently introducing bladder irritants into their system.
2. Stay properly hydrated by drinking water
According to Joshua Lippiner of Nampons, “One key way to improve bladder health is by staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections and other complications, so it’s crucial to make sure your body has enough fluids. Additionally, avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also help prevent irritation in the bladder. Regular exercise and weight management are also essential factors in maintaining proper bladder function.”
Adequate hydration is crucial. Aim to consume a minimum of two liters or about 64 ounces of water daily. This general guideline applies to most individuals unless specific health conditions or medical advice dictate otherwise. Drinking water throughout the day helps dilute urine and prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Insufficient fluid intake can lead to concentrated, dark yellow urine with a strong odor, which can irritate the bladder. This irritation can result in increased bathroom visits and potential urine control problems. Additionally, inadequate water consumption can lead to dehydration, creating an environment favorable for bacterial growth, potentially causing urinary tract infections or the development of urinary tract stones.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for various types of cancer including the one for your bladder. The chemicals present in tobacco smoke can be absorbed into the bloodstream, filtered by the kidneys, and concentrated in the urine. These harmful substances can directly meet the lining of the bladder, increasing the likelihood of developing cancerous cells. By quitting smoking, you significantly decrease your risk of bladder cancer.
Dr. Bocanegra, a medical professional, emphasizes the significance of quitting smoking to reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer and various other health complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlight tobacco use as the primary cause of preventable diseases in the United States, with a substantial association with different forms of cancer, including bladder cancer. Taking proactive measures to quit smoking is crucial for safeguarding your health and minimizing the chances of bladder cancer and other adverse health outcomes.
4. Consume Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) daily
Make it a habit to include EVOO in your recipes and aim for a daily intake of three tablespoons. Studies have shown that this olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, lower blood pressure, and blood glucose levels, decrease insulin resistance, and alleviate inflammation. Furthermore, a study published in 2022 by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that daily consumption of 1 and a half teaspoons of virgin olive oil reduces risk by 1/3.
5. Prioritize fruits and vegetables
Aim to consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. While it may sound like a lot, keep in mind that one serving is equal to just half a cup. During meals, try to fill approximately two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or beans, and allocate the remaining third to a protein source like chicken or fish. Remember that fruits generally have higher calorie content compared to vegetables, so it’s beneficial to consume more vegetables than fruits.
In a study published by Medicine (Baltimore) back in 2016 which utilized Chinese elderly men as participants, researchers found that adequate fruit and vegetable intake, especially those dark and leafy ones, helped alleviate lower urinary tract symptoms.
6. Include cruciferous vegetables in your diet
Dr. Bassam Zeina of Alternatives Clinic UK says cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula, collard greens, turnips, and kale are known for their health benefits. These vitamin-rich powerhouses contain “isothiocyanates,” potent antioxidants that help protect cells from damage, fight cancer-causing agents, and reduce inflammation.
Including cruciferous vegetables in your diet can benefit not just your bladder, but also your kidneys and prostate. To maximize their health benefits, it is recommended to consume them raw or lightly steam them with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and garlic, as boiling can cause a significant reduction in their nutritional value.
7. Avoid bladder irritants
Some foods and beverages can irritate the bladder, leading to overactive bladder symptoms such as leakage, urgency, and increased frequency. To promote bladder health, it is recommended to avoid certain foods and beverages that can potentially irritate the bladder. These include spicy foods like chili, caffeinated drinks like coffee, and carbonated beverages like soda, chocolate, tea, vinegar, orange juice, tomato-based foods, and alcoholic beverages. By staying away from these items, you can help minimize bladder irritation and maintain better bladder function.
Consider eliminating these items from your diet or diluting them with water to minimize their impact on your bladder health. Additionally, quitting tobacco usage is essential, as it is a bladder irritant and the primary cause of bladder cancer and other related conditions. Remember, maintaining a nutritious and healthy diet is vital not only for a healthy bladder but also for overall well-being. Following these tips can promote better bladder health and support your body’s overall functioning.