Watch For These Foods Next Time You're at the Grocery Store: Your Bladder Will Thank You

Studies have shown that dietary choices play a significant role in the prevention and management of many conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases. Similarly, the health of the bladder can be influenced and optimized through proper food choices.

Bladder issues such as urinary tract infections, overactive bladder, and incontinence are some of the major health concerns that affect both men and women. As with many health concerns, bladder issues often become more prevalent as one ages, and some people may have multiple bladder conditions. New medications and advanced surgical techniques can help in the treatment of these difficulties. However, before deciding on these expensive treatments, consider an often overlooked source of help: the grocery store. Making informed shopping choices at the supermarket and implementing minor dietary changes is often all it takes to resolve minor bladder health concerns, and it may save you from needing to start prescription medication or undergo surgery. Let's take a look at some foods that can promote bladder health.

1 - Bananas

Bananas are a non-acidic fruit and an ideal source of potassium. Both bladder irritation and overactive bladder can be aggravated by the acid in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, and lemons. Opting for fruits with a lower acid content will be much less irritating to the bladder. Bananas are found in nearly every grocery store and are an ideal place to start.

Other fruits that promote bladder health include apples, sweet grapes, watermelon, coconut, pears, strawberries, and blueberries. When shopping for fruits, always start in the produce section of the supermarket in order to get the freshest fruit available. Aim to buy fruits that are in season. If necessary, out of season fruits can be purchased frozen. Many low-acid fruits are sold in cans. While canned fruit is not ideal, choosing fruit that is canned only in its own juices (with no added sugar or syrups) can be a healthy option.

2 - Green Leafy Vegetables

Patients with bladder issues need to be particularly mindful about choosing vegetables. As with fruits, certain vegetables contain high levels of acid that can exacerbate symptoms of urinary tract infections and increase bladder activity too much. Tomatoes, whether raw or cooked, are highly acidic and should be eliminated. Raw onions may cause substantial irritation; for this reason, it is important that only cooked onions be consumed. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, asparagus, spinach, and lettuce are all ideal alternatives that can protect the bladder. These can be safely eaten either raw or cooked.

To round out the vegetable plate, broccoli and carrots are also safe, bladder-friendly foods to include. When shopping at the store, try to buy fresh, organic produce if possible. Bagged salad mixes can also be used, and frozen vegetables are also a healthy choice. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid buying canned vegetables such as canned spinach. Vegetables that have been canned frequently have added salt that can stimulate the bladder.

3 - Lentils

The bladder and bowels are located in close proximity to one another, and bladder problems can often coexist with bowel concerns. In particular, constipation creates a challenging situation as it puts extra pressure on the bladder. This can lead to frequent urination and bladder pain. While laxatives and prescription medications are recommended in severe cases, instances of minor, occasional constipation may be resolved through dietary changes.

Lentils are a high-fiber food that can prevent painful buildup in the bowels, alleviating any pressure that this may also place on the bladder. Other foods high in fiber include oats, beans, barley, almonds, and artichokes. Lentil soups, chili, and breakfast oatmeal are simple ways to incorporate more fiber into meals. To save money at the grocery store, try to buy dry beans instead of canned ones. If available, choose to buy a container of oats instead of instant pre-packaged oatmeal.

4 - Decaffeinated Herbal Tea

Decaffeinated herbal tea is one of the safest beverage choices for those looking to avoid or lessen bladder issues. Common drinks such as coffee, cola, sparkling water, can lead to the production of more urine, worsening symptoms of overactive bladder. Green and black teas can be particularly soothing and effective in the resolution of urinary tract infections. Additionally, cleavers tea and cornsilk tea can calm an overactive bladder.

Scientists have found that rates of bladder cancer are lower in countries with a high rate of herbal tea consumption, and it is hypothesized that green tea may help lower the risk of recurrent bladder cancer for men. To optimize the bladder health benefits of herbal tea, choose high-quality, organic tea. If these are not available locally, a wide variety of online stores sell specialty tea. In general, tea sold loose or in silk "tea temple" bags has a more pleasing flavor and is more potent than tea sold in other teabags.