Optimal Urological Health Starts with a Good Diet
If you’ve struggled with urological health issues in the past, you’ve probably already discussed the importance of a good diet with your doctor.
What you eat has a significant impact on your urinary system, so it’s important to be mindful about what you consume. A proper diet for optimal urinary health can be difficult to achieve. Many foods that are usually known for being healthy can be harmful to those dealing with poor urological health. Because the urinary system is composed of several complex organs, they can easily become compromised. This results in a myriad of health issues, even some that seem unrelated — like extreme fatigue.
In this post, we discuss the urinary system and the foods you should eat (and avoid!) for optimal urological health.
What is the Urinary System?
The urinary system is what is referred to when discussing urological health. This system’s main purpose is to balance water, blood, and chemicals within the body. The organs consisting of the urinary system include: the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra. Some urologists even treat the reproductive organs and adrenal glands.
The kidneys facilitate the primary function of the urinary system. Through filtering waste products and excess water, the kidney’s produce urine as waste.
In the urination process, several organs play a role in removing waste. Starting at the kidneys, urine travels through the ureters, which are two thin tubes that connect to the bladder. From there, urine travels from the bladder and is eliminated via the urethra. While this is the urinary system’s main role, the kidneys have other important functions within the entire body.
Not only do the kidneys filter waste, they also balance the body’s fluids, regulate blood pressure, and produce red blood cells. Within the body, these organs come together to create the urinary system and its essential functions.
Read More: The Urinary Tract & How It Works
How Does Diet Affect the Urinary System?
There are several health issues that can impact the urinary system. While your diet might not cure these ailments, it can certainly help with prevention.
Urological problems such as kidney failure, kidney cancer, kidney disease, and kidney stones can cause irreversible renal damage and other serious problems. Excess protein or blood in your urine are some of the first initial signs of these concerns. If left untreated, kidney problems can become life-threatening and difficult to treat.
Some issues can originate in the lower part of the urinary tract as well. The most serious concern is bladder cancer; there are three types of bladder cancer that form in the cells of the bladder lining. On the other hand, urinary tract infections, or UTIs, occur in the ureters and urethra. This type of infection is very common, with women at a greater risk than men. UTIs are usually caused by E. coli bacteria sitting in the urinary system.
Urinary incontinence and overactive bladder are also conditions involving the urinary tract. Incontinence, or loss of bladder control, can have five distinct causes. The first is urge incontinence, due to an overactive bladder. While stress incontinence occurs when the abdomen is under stress or pressure. A third type is caused by a blockage in the urethra preventing proper emptying, known overflow incontinence. Some patients can also have mixed incontinence, meaning they simultaneously experience symptoms of urge and stress incontinence. Lastly, neurogenic incontinence, though rare, happens when the nervous system function is impaired.
Read more: Learn the 5 types of incontinence and how to combat them.
Eating a proper diet puts less stress on your kidneys and can decrease your chances of urinary tract issues overall. Unfortunately, certain foods and fluids can cause a build up of minerals that overwork your body. This is especially true if you have an existing condition. Eating specific foods that boost renal and urinary performance is crucial for good urological health.
Foods for Urological Health
Diet may play a supportive role in helping lower urinary tract concerns.
It’s easy to assume a diet consisting of whole foods, high-quality protein, and fresh fruits and vegetables is the best option. However, some of these healthy foods must be avoided if you suffer from poor urological health. Foods high in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium are those that should be avoided. These can worsen symptoms and aggravate the urinary system. Instead, foods high in vitamin C, K, and B are generally recommended.
Below is a list of foods that should be consumed to maintain urological health — along with foods that are not recommended.
Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, bell pepper, onion, garlic, arugula, radishes, and shiitake mushrooms are ideal options. If you have urinary health concerns, don’t eat the following vegetables: swiss chard, spinach, beet greens, tomatoes, white or sweet potatoes, and olives.
Cranberries, pineapples, grapes, and blueberries are great for improving urological health. Whereas fruits that should be avoided include avocados, bananas, oranges, apricots, dates, raisins, and prunes.
For protein, it’s recommended to eat skinless chicken, egg whites, and sea bass. These proteins are highly nutritious and kidney-friendly. On the other hand, avoid protein options that are high in sodium such as fried or processed protein and deli meats.
Resources to Further Improve Your Urological Health
In addition to these food guidelines, there are other dietary factors to keep in mind. In general, avoid dark sodas, sweets containing high amounts of sugar, and dairy products. Doing so will help avoid buildup of waste in your body. The primary goal is to maintain the health of the urinary system to avoid the many potential health issues listed above. Again, your diet will likely not cure any illnesses, but a good diet and working with a urologist can help prevent them.
If you’re interested in more information about improving your urological health, check out our Nutrition & Lifestyle Guide. This guide will educate you on how to become your healthiest self, with expert tips backed by our urologists. These simple tips will now only help your urological health, but your overall wellness as well.
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