Millions of Americans suffer from bladder infections, inflammation, and general bladder discomfort today. But did you know that eating certain foods can actually help prevent such problems from ever starting? For years physicians and dieticians have been recommending healthy foods, and now urologists have jumped in. Try including these five foods to your diet and keep them a part of your regular daily meals for a healthy bladder: cranberries, pears, whole grains, water, and yogurt.
Cranberries—These red berries have been used to prevent urinary tract infections for years. They contain healthy doses of Vitamin C, dietary fiber, manganese, and Vitamin K. Studies on the effects of cranberries indicate that about 16 ounces (2 cups) of pure cranberry juice daily treat and prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberries do this by acidifying the urine, which breaks down the UTI-causing bacteria. Further, they contain an antibacterial agent called hippuric acid and other compounds that reduce the ability of E. coli bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract.
Pears—Many patients with interstitial cystitis love pears as they are one of the few fruits that do not produce the feared symptom flare-up. Due to their low acidity, the fruit makes for an easy snack for IC sufferers. Pears are also a good source of dietary fiber and Vitamin C. Pears are a high-alkaline (basic) food, so eating more of them helps balance an overly acidic system, which, in turn, keeps bladder issues under control.
Whole Grains—Constipation increases pressure on your bladder, making bladder problems even worse. Whole grains provide significant amounts of dietary fiber, which aides in maintaining a healthy colon and allows for easy digestion, thereby decreasing defecation issues. Examples of whole grain-rich foods include oatmeal, spelt, bulgur, brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, popcorn, and barley. The recommended daily dosage of fiber for a healthy system is 25 grams a day.
Water—A properly hydrated body functions correctly. But over-hydration puts too much pressure on the bladder. Drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day is adequate to maintain a flushed and clean system without bogging your bladder down with unnecessary work.
Yogurt—According to a study conducted by the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute, and the Department of Urology and Center for Assessment of Medical Technology, Orebro University Hospital, in Sweden, daily consumption of yogurt reduces the risk of bladder cancer. The study focused on the association between the intake of cultured milk and other dairy foods and the incidence of bladder cancer. Although the total dairy intake was not significantly associated with a decrease risk in bladder cancer, a significant association was observed for the intake of cultured milk (yogurt). In other words, a high intake of yogurt (about two servings per day) may lower the risk of developing bladder cancer.