Food Choices for Better Bladder Health?
Father time stops for no one. So sometimes it feels like a full-time job to maintain our health as we get older.
One age-related health concern that no one wants to think about, much less discuss with anyone, is incontinence. Unfortunately, it is a worry that all too many share.
If you’ve forgotten everything from your high school anatomy class, here’s a quick refresher. The urinary system is made up of your bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra.
Your bladder is down in the lower abdomen. Think of it like a balloon that stores urine.
As with most body parts, with age comes changes to the bladder. The elastic-like tissue becomes less flexible. And a “tougher” bladder holds less urine so that means more trips to the bathroom.
To add insult to injury, sometimes the bladder wall weakens. Then it becomes harder to empty your bladder all the way and you may leak urine. Not fun stuff.
But don’t lose hope. As we frequently find, the choices you make in your diet impact systems throughout your body. The same holds true for your bladder.
Here are some diet changes your bladder will love…
- Stay Hydrated. Though it may seem backward to drink more water when you’re worried about incontinence, the opposite is true. Even mild dehydration puts you at a higher risk for a UTI (urinary tract infection). UTIs increase the frequency of needing to urinate more than ever.
- Eat More Fruit. Many fruits and fruit juices are fantastic for bladder health. The well-known heroes are cranberries and cranberry juice. Also great for improved bladder function: apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries and pears.
- Step Up Your Fiber Intake. Fiber to the rescue, again! Eating more fiber from whole grain foods, beans and from many of the fruits mentioned above, is important for bladder health.
- Add Extra Healthy Carbs. Food rich in whole grains like whole grain breads, cereal, brown rice and oatmeal help keep both your bladder and bowel movements regular.
- Be Mindful of Caffeine and Alcohol. Both caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages act as diuretics and increase urine production. Plus, if you feel a little tipsy you may be less aware, which increases the risk of accidents or leakage.
- Cut Down on Spicy Foods. If you love spicy foods, don’t despair. You won’t have to completely stop eating your favorites. But spicy foods can irritate the lining of the bladder which can cause that “gotta go” feeling. So, if you notice you’re having bladder issues, try cutting back on the hot wings.
You can put all these tips into action quite easily. Most of the food is probably already on your weekly grocery list. Just add a little extra of those that are best for good bladder health. You’ll be glad that you did!