If you suffer from overactive bladder (OAB), your diet can impact your frequent need to urinate (or not), leakage, and accidents.
Some foods may irritate your bladder more than they do someone else who is also suffering from overactive bladder. On the other hand, some foods may not bother you, but other people with OAB must avoid them.
Keeping a food diary can help you determine what foods irritate your bladder and which foods can help soothe it. A healthy diet for OAB is going to depend upon your specific reactions to certain foods.
In general, though, you may be able to reduce the symptoms of overactive bladder with a few diet changes. Best of all, most of these diet changes will help you stay healthier in the long run, in every way – including bladder health.
Sugar sits as one of the biggest culprits in overactive bladder syndrome – and can even cause frequent urination in those who don’t have OAB.
When you consume sugar, your body converts it into glucose. If the kidneys cannot filter the excess glucose then some is dumped into the into the urine. Through that process fluid is taken from other sources within the body which leads to thirst and dehydration. Working in tandem with each other, the body’s natural response is to make you drink more water to flush out the sugar, resulting in a need to urinate frequently.
In short, most of us know sugar is bad for us. The best thing nearly anyone can do for their diet is eliminating all but the natural sugars found in fruit. Eliminating or dramatically reducing sugar intake should be the first step to a healthy bladder.
Eliminate Artificial Sweeteners
Most artificial sweeteners on the market today, including saccharin and sucralose, aren’t much better than sugar when it comes to bladder health – or overall health.
That doesn’t mean you’re relegated to a life of bland foods or skipping dessert. Natural sweeteners like stevia extract and monk fruit may satisfy your sweet tooth without irritating your bladder.
Drink More Water (And Fewer Other Beverages)
Once you cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners, you may find your options for beverages somewhat limited. In short, you should try to avoid:
- Diet soda
- Fruit Juice
- Sweetened teas
- Powdered drink mixes
To avoid irritating your bladder, you should also avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Do drink herbal teas with no caffeine and lots of water for better health, more energy, and even glowing skin.
Add More Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens to Your Diet
Cruciferous vegetables include “super foods” like broccoli, cauliflower, and even cabbage. High in vitamins and fiber, while low in calories, these foods fill you up.
These vegetables can be sautéed, steamed, boiled, or even pan-fried. You can swap out rice with riced cauliflower to add more nutrition to your meal. You can also swap noodles for sliced cabbage in casseroles, soups, and more.
Leafy greens also form the foundation of a healthy diet - and many delicious salads! Consider adding more kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach to your diet to assist with weight loss and healthier eating.
Replace Citrus Fruits with Berries
Citrus fruits can irritate the bladder - but that doesn’t mean you should abandon all naturally sweet treats. Instead, incorporate heart-healthy blueberries, pears, and bananas, along with delicious, juicy watermelon, into your OAB-friendly diet.
Most carbohydrates tend to be bland and, therefore, safe to eat on a bladder-friendly eating plan. Be sure to choose nutrient-packed grains like quinoa, oats, and whole-grain brown rice. Packed with fiber, whole wheat bread can also keep you full longer than processed white bread or "wheat" options.
What healthy changes do you plan to make to your diet in time for the new year?