How to Keep Your Bladder Happy: The Best and Worst Foods for Bladder Health

It seems like you have to pee 24/7. 

You can't sit through a movie, make a grocery run, or even take a nap without having to use the restroom. And if you don’t make it in time… ugh.

It’s time to get this figured out, and you’ve decided food is the place to start. 

We’re here to assure you that you’re on the right track.

If you’re suffering from incontinence and wondering if what you eat is affecting your bladder, we’ve got the information you’re looking for.

Keep reading to learn about the best and worst foods for bladder health and what to eat to keep your bladder happy and subdued.

Table of Contents 

7 of the Best Foods for Bladder Health

bladder health

#1: Cranberries

It's not just an old wives tale. Cranberries really are one of the best foods for bladder health. 

What makes cranberries so amazing for your bladder? 

It’s all about an antioxidant called proanthocyanidins, or PACs for short. PACs reduce bad bacteria’s ability to stick to the walls of your urethra and bladder. That means the nasty bacteria is flushed out, rather than sticking around causing urinary tract infections. 

Cranberries can be eaten as a fruit or juice or taken as a supplement. But if you choose to drink your cranberries, be sure to pick a cranberry juice that doesn’t contain sugar.

 #2: Lean Protein

Lean proteins are the perfect foods for bladder health. They help keep your bowels moving on a regular schedule, which means less pressure on your bladder. And there are plenty of options to choose from, including:

  • Lean cuts of beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey; and
  • Fish

For the best benefits, you’ll want to avoid frying, since oil can lead to bladder irritation. Opt instead to steam, broil, or bake your food.

#3: Yogurt 

Eating fermented dairy products, such as yogurt, can decrease the risk of incontinence. 

And since yogurt is filled with probiotics, it can help keep your urinary tract squeaky clean, and free from UTIs.

If you're shopping for yogurt at the grocery store, be sure to grab plain yogurt that contains Lactobacillus. This probiotic can strengthen your immune system, prevent bladder infections, and keep your digestive system on the right track. 

And of course, you'll want to purchase yogurt with no added sugars.

bananas bladder health

 #4: Bananas

Bananas are another great food for bladder health. 

They’re non-acidic and boast an abundance of …

  • Fiber
  • Potassium; and
  • Other essential nutrients

And according to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, they’re one of the least irritating foods for sensitive bladders. 

As an added bonus, bananas are great for your intestines and can help increase the good bacteria that make you poop regularly.

And they're probably one of the handiest foods around. Simply snack on a whole banana or toss one in your next smoothie.

#5: Walnuts

If you’re wanting a snack food that is great for bladder health, you can't go wrong with a handful of walnuts.

This power-packed nut provides you with a much-needed boost of protein and healthy fats. And the walnut’s ability to help relieve frequent urination and incontinence has stood the test of time.

For the past 20+ centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has touted the benefits of walnuts on the bladder. 

According to TCM, walnuts are known for strengthening kidney function. In his famous Traditional Chinese Medicine books, ancient practitioner Ben Cau Gang Mu highlights the walnut’s sweet and mildly bitter taste as having warming properties. These serve to tone and strengthen your kidney essence, making walnuts suitable for dealing with the symptoms of incontinence.

#6: Garlic

If you’re already a fan of garlic, you can add, “one of the best foods for bladder health” to your list of benefits of this powerful food.

A natural antibiotic, garlic has been used for centuries to fight off urinary tract infections and keep your bladder healthy.

And it's so easy to consume! Simply add some fresh garlic to tonight's entrée, or toss a clove in your homemade salad dressing. 

And if you're not a fan of garlic’s strong flavor, have no fear. Check out one of the many garlic supplements on the market.

vegetables bladder health

#7: Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are not only great foods for bladder health, but they also
contain cancer-fighting properties. 

Research has shown that eating cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of primary bladder cancer. 

Researchers believe this is due in part to the high levels of glucosinolates, which are the precursors of isothiocyanates, and indole-3-carbinol in cruciferous vegetables. These potent substances are known to halt the development of cancer cell progression. 

Cruciferous veggies include: 

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Radishes; and 
  • Turnips

These healthy foods are chock-full of:

  • Fiber
  • Folate
  • Vitamins C, K, and E

… and can be enjoyed raw, roasted, or added to a smoothie.

 What Are the Worst Foods for Bladder Health?

Now that you know what foods are good for bladder health, let's take a look at a few you’ll want to stay away from if you struggle with incontinence

Some foods can irritate the lining of your bladder or disrupt the nervous system that controls bladder function, causing frequent urination

If you have an overactive bladder, here are a couple of things you’ll want to consider removing (or significantly reducing):

Alcohol

Consuming a large amount of alcohol, even on an occasional basis, can cause bladder incontinence.

Alcohol affects your kidneys by initiating a complex biochemical process that causes them to increase urine production. The result? Feeling the urge to pee more often than normal.

Alcohol also dehydrates your body. That’s why you feel an almost unquenchable thirst when you drink too much. It’s also one of the reasons you get a hangover. Drinking water can help curb the feelings of a hangover, but it also kicks your bladder into working overtime.

Caffeine

A recent study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School's Division of Women's Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery showed that women who drink excessive amounts of caffeine are 7 out of 10 times more likely to have urinary incontinence than those who don't.

And since caffeine is found in a variety of foods and drinks, you’ll also want to limit or eliminate: 

  • Chocolate
  • Energy drinks and some sodas that
  • Some teas
foods for bladder health

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