How to Maintain Your Urological Health During the Holidays
November is National Bladder Health Awareness Month and to celebrate we’re sharing seven holiday diet tips to keep your bladder healthy this holiday season!
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes great company and even better food. To most, eating one-too-many platefuls at Thanksgiving or drinking a glass of holiday punch may not seem like an issue. However, to those who rely on a strict diet for the sake of their urological health, enjoying the holidays like everyone else seems like an impossibility.
To make sure you make the most of your holiday, we’ve compiled this list of holiday diet tips to help you maintain your urological health. Remember, moderation is key. You don’t have to deprive yourself of the simple joys of the holiday season! Instead, discipline yourself to choose food and drinks that benefit your body.
The fact is, when certain foods are eaten in higher than normal consumption, overall health threats may arise. Some of these foods and drinks can also trigger frequent urination, bladder spasms, or urinary incontinence, especially for those struggling with OAB.
So, keep your urinary system in check this holiday season with the following holiday diet tips:
7 Holiday Diet Tips
1. Limit sugary, rich and heavy foods
Moderation is key when it comes to consuming sugary foods. Keep an eye out for items that will directly irritate the bladder, such as citrus fruits, chocolate and spicy or acidic foods.
2. Minimize alcoholic beverages
No matter how tempting that glass of champagne looks, do your best to choose an alternative. Alcohol causes the urgency and frequency of urination, which may cause some uncomfortable symptoms. If consumed in large amounts, the bladder will weaken and cause possible urine leakage.
3. Drink plenty of water
This tip may seem obvious, but drinking water is even more essential during the holidays. Strive to drink six to eight cups of water every day to stay hydrated and reduce the chances of aggravating your bladder.
4. Incorporate more fruits and veggies
Fruits and veggies such as bananas, apples, grapes, coconut, strawberries, asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots and peppers are all healthy alternatives to sweet desserts. Try to eat more of these foods, or use them to test out a new holiday recipe!
5. Eat more fiber
Fiber-rich foods help prevent constipation, which puts additional pressure on the bladder. Some good sources of fiber include beans, artichokes, oats and almonds.
6. Don’t forget about protein
Protein is essential for your overall health, so enjoy some turkey and ham this holiday! Chicken, tofu, fish and eggs are also great sources of protein.
7. Avoid caffeinated beverages
Caffeine increases bladder activity and can cause several urinary issues. Try to avoid drinks like coffee and tea that contain high amounts of caffeine.
Why is bladder health important?
The bladder plays an important role in the urinary system. It receives urine from the kidneys and holds it until it is full. At that time, it signals the brain that it needs to be emptied.
A healthy bladder is able to hold approximately 16 ounces of urine at a time and will likely require four to eight bathroom visits a day and two at night with ample liquid consumption. As we age and grow, our bladders grow too, and its ability to hold urine may weaken.
Starting around age 30, individuals may begin to struggle with urinary incontinence, the involuntary leakage of urine, as well as overactive bladder, the involuntary leakage of urine due to the bladder’s inability to store urine.
While these issues may be inevitable due to age, there are things you can do to minimize your risk of developing an unhealthy bladder:
- Drink lots of water and juice, specifically cranberry juice, to improve bladder health.
- Practice pelvic floor muscle exercises such as kegels and pilates.
- Avoid acidic and spicy foods that may irritate your bladder.
- Stop smoking. Smoking is the greatest risk factor for developing bladder cancer and can be detrimental to your bladder’s health.
A Note from Urology Specialists of the Carolinas
A healthy bladder is important to the wellbeing of your body, and it’s up to you and your doctor to establish smart habits to maintain your bladder’s health. As a recap, remember to steer clear of these foods and drinks this holiday season:
- Sugary, rich and heavy foods
- Alcoholic beverages
- Caffeinated beverages
Instead, add these types of foods and drinks to your holiday menu:
- Lots of water — at least six to eight cups a day
- Fruits and vegetables
- Plenty of protein
- Fiber-rich foods
Sticking to your regular diet and routine is the best way to ensure the health and function of your bladder through the holidays. However, a treat or two may be acceptable, as long as it’s in moderation. Take the time to listen to your body and learn what it likes and what it doesn’t. If you know certain types of food and drink irritate your bladder, cut them out of your diet. Your urinary tract will thank you!
From all of us here at Urology Specialists at the Carolinas, we wish you a happy holiday season. We hope these holiday diet tips for a healthy bladder are useful and allow you to enjoy the holidays without interruptions! If you have questions about your bladder health, or would like to schedule an appointment with our office, please contact us at one of our locations.
Nutrition is key to maintaining the health of your body — your bladder included! Download our Nutrition & Lifestyle Guide for more healthy tips!
Content was originally written on December 17, 2017. Content was refreshed on November 8, 2019.