9 Foods Your Bladder Will Love

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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Close-up of Caucasian woman holding bowl of high-fiber cereal with berries

What you eat and drink affects your bladder. If you are prone to urinary tract infections or have an overactive, sensitive bladder, you may already have found that certain foods trigger your symptoms, but did you know there are foods that have the opposite effect?

Even if you don't have bladder problems, it's a good idea to pay attention to your bladder health. Some healthy foods for your bladder not only soothe symptoms but can prevent illnesses such as bladder cancer. Try these nine best foods for bladder health

1. Seafood

Swordfish, tuna, salmon and sardines offer lean protein that's loaded with vitamin D, which is a great nutrient for your bladder. Studies show people with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk for overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, and bladder cancer. Protein also helps your body repair itself.

Other good sources of lean protein and vitamin D include chicken breast, turkey, lamb, and lean cuts of beef and pork. These are best served baked, steamed or broiled to avoid irritating your bladder.

2. Eggs

Eggs are considered one of the least-irritating foods for your bladder, while also containing many nutrients and valuable ingredients for bladder health. For example, eggs are a good source of lean protein and are high in vitamin D. If you need to watch your cholesterol intake, you can remove the yolks and eat just egg whites. Some research has indicated that eating fried eggs may raise your risk of bladder cancer, so if you eat eggs frequently, you may wish to try other, healthier cooking methods, such as boiling, poaching and scrambling.

3. Pears

Pears are one of many recommended fruits that promote bladder health. Not only are pears high in fiber, but they contain malic acid, which research suggests may help prevent urinary tract stones. They also provide vitamin C, which is associated with a calmer bladder, meaning fewer urgent, "gotta go" moments.

Many other fruits also are healthy foods for your bladder, including bananas, grapes, apples, honeydew, watermelon and coconut. However, citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit, could cause bladder irritation, so consume those with caution.

4. Berries

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries and other berries are good sources of bacteria-fighting flavonols and vitamin C. They also contain water, which can help flush out your bladder.

Cranberries (either in juice or supplement form) used to be touted as a preventive for urinary tract infections (UTIs). More recently, research has cast doubt on this, with only mixed evidence for cranberries' effectiveness. The American Urological Association notes that while evidence for cranberry benefits is low, so is the risk of ingesting them, so doctors are free to recommend this to patients with recurring UTIs.

5. Squash

Winter squash is a good source of beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which studies have shown can decrease your risk of bladder cancer. Carotenoids appear in red, orange and yellow pigments in vegetables. Good squash types to try include acorn, spaghetti and butternut. Try chopping and cooking squash with oil, since adding fat to carotenoids helps them be better absorbed. Other veggies containing carotenoids include pumpkins, carrots, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli and bell peppers.

6. Oats

Oats are a whole grain and thus add fiber to your diet. Fiber is important for bladder health because it helps prevent constipation, which can place pressure on your bladder and interfere with its normal activity. Oats also may help relieve bladder pain if you have cystitis or other painful condition. Consider adding a bladder-soothing bowl of oatmeal or an oatmeal cookie to your diet.

Other whole grains can benefit your bladder as well, such as rice (especially brown rice, which has more fiber than white rice), quinoa, farro, barley and whole grain breads.

7. Nuts

Most nuts are foods your bladder will love. They are full of protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to bladder health. Not all nuts are created equal, though. The best for bladder health are almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts and sunflower seeds. Other types of nuts may irritate your bladder. Also, avoid heavily salted nuts, since excess salt intake can cause frequent or excessive urination or increase your urge to urinate, even when you don't have to.

8. Water

Staying well hydrated can help cleanse your bladder, while drinking too little can raise your risk of urinary tract infections. The best drink is the simplest: uncarbonated water. Plain old water avoids ingredients that are unhealthy for your bladder, such as caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Try for at least 1 liter (34 ounces) per day, experts suggest, but avoid overdrinking, which can trigger overactive bladder symptoms.

Drinks to limit: coffee (including decaf), energy drinks, acidic drinks such as tomato or orange juice, caffeinated tea, anything carbonated, and alcohol.

9. Garlic

Garlic has been found to help prevent bladder cancer by inhibiting the development and growth of cancer cells. Garlic extract also has been shown to fight drug-resistant urinary tract infections. Consider adding garlic to meals, either fresh cloves of garlic or dried, minced garlic. Garlic supplements also are available, but you should check with your healthcare provider before taking these, since sometimes they can interact with other medications in unhealthy ways.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Oct 7
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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