Bladder issues can be embarrassing, and talking about conditions like cystitis and incontinence can be difficult. But September is Urology Awareness Month, so we should be doing just that.
Charlotte Watts, nutritionist and author of The De-Stress Effect, gives her top tips for eating your way to a healthy bladder:
Get the balance right
Maintaining the correct acid/alkaline balance is very important to the urinary system and therefore bladder health. Too many acid-forming foods, such as wheat, meat and dairy products, can have a negative effect. Replace these by eating more fish, vegetables and fruit. This supports good gut bacteria – and taking an extra probiotic supplement is also a good health protection plan.
Stock up on lemons
Citrus fruits, even though acidic to taste, act as alkalising foods in the body. However, if you are prone to cystitis, they can be problematic as they can alkalise the urine and encourage bacterial growth. Vitamin C on its own, however, remains acidic and can help.
Try herb-tastic tea
Uva ursi is a herb long associated with bladder and urinary health and it can destroy the bacteria that cause cystitis. You can buy the leaves from a good herbalist and brew the tea to drink daily (try flavouring it with fennel and/ or peppermint).
Detox the traditional way
Long-term traditional use of celery, watermelon, dandelion and parsley have shown that they all have properties that are beneficial to the bladder and kidneys, balancing mineral levels and promoting detoxification.
Eat berry well
Cranberries and blueberries can be helpful in promoting a healthy environment for your bladder and may help relieve cystitis, as they contain a substance called hippuric acid. This is much higher in cranberries and prevents unwanted bacteria that can cause infection sticking to the wall of the urinary tract.
Urology is an umbrella term covering bladder, prostate, kidney and testicular cancer, as well as erectile dysfunction. Find out more about the relevant conditions – as well as Urology Awareness Month – from The Urology Foundation.
If you are worried about your bladder or anything related, always speak to your GP.