If you’re looking to optimize your health, you may be focusing primarily on things like decreasing your cholesterol, lowering your blood pressure, and ensuring that you have good insulin sensitivity so that you can prevent diabetes.
While these are all great precautionary measures, one thing that many people often overlook is their bladder health and more specifically, how this can influence them.
If you don’t have a healthy bladder, you might experience issues such as more frequent bladder infections, urinary incontinence, as well as urinary tract infections. While these may not be as serious as a heart attack or a stroke, they definitely will negatively impact your life.
Let’s take a quick peek into seven things that you can start doing immediately to help promote a healthier bladder.
Drink More Water
Staying well hydrated is a must for a healthy bladder. This should only make sense given that hydration is the one thing that directly impacts how the bladder functions. The more water you consume, the quicker the bladder can rinse out its stored contents. The bladder is the vehicle through which excess liquid from the body moves out of, so the more often you are pushing fluids through it, the better.
Do keep in mind that you want to drink as much pure water as possible. While you certainly can consume things like tea, milk, and flavored beverages, at least half of your intake should be pure water for best results.
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, And Other Diuretics
One thing that you will want to avoid is caffeine and alcohol. These may aggravate your bladder and if you do have any pre-existing conditions, may make them far worse. Keep in mind that many beverages today contain caffeine such as coffee, energy drinks, teas, and sodas.
Consume High Fiber Foods
Just as you’d consume high fiber foods to promote better colon health and regularity, you should also be focusing on higher fiber foods for bladder health. This is one most people overlook and choose to bypass, but it can make a big difference.
You want to avoid being constipated, so anything that keeps you regular is a good thing. Think berries, green vegetables, whole wheat, and grains, along with beans and lentils. All of these are great for keeping your bladder functioning at its best.
Lose Excess Body Fat
It doesn’t really matter which area of your health you are looking at, it’s almost always a good idea to aim to lose excess body fat if you can. Too much fat in the body can lead to heart health problems, it can mess with your natural hormonal levels, and it may just put excess strain on the bladder as well.
Losing weight can be a long journey, but every pound you lose will move you in the right direction and help you get closer to having a well-functioning bladder. The best way to lose body fat will always be with a combination of proper exercise coupled with a calorie-reduced diet.
As an added benefit, physical activity can also help promote a healthier bladder and help you avoid constipation (see our above tip). Now you have an extra reason for hitting the gym or picking up some free weights to use at home.
Don’t Hold Past The Urge To Go
When the urge to urinate hits, what do you do? Are you listening to your body? Or do you try and hold it longer?
While it may seem annoying to have to use the bathroom so frequently and now that you’ve just upped your water intake (because you’re following these tips), you may find that you have to go more often, but it’s still important to go when the urge hits.
Avoid holding your bladder for lengthy periods of time. Listen to your body. When it’s telling you to empty it, do so. You shouldn’t ever get to the point where you’re dancing and feel like you might just explode if you can’t find a bathroom soon. That’s just placing extra unnecessary strain on your bladder muscles.
Some may think that holding your urine helps to strengthen your muscles and train your bladder to go longer between bathroom breaks but it actually does the opposite.
Serve Yourself Cranberries
One food of particular importance you’ll want to get into your diet plan is cranberries. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants that support bladder health and may also help prevent urinary tract infections. If you’re someone who often suffers from UTI’s, you’ll want to try and get this berry into your diet on a weekly basis at a minimum. It will make a big difference.
When you think of exercise, walking, jogging, or weight lifting usually comes to mind as it’s the most common form of exercise. But you should also be focusing on exercising your bladder as well. Kegels, where you tense and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles are also important for keeping those muscles strong and preventing urinary incontinence.
If you’ve never done them, start by doing two sets of 10 two or three times per day. Do them every time you’re at a stop light. As an added bonus, they can make your sex life considerably better.
Use A Bladder Support Aid
Finally, don’t overlook the power of getting a bladder support product. The right mix of nutrients can go a long way towards enhancing your bladder health and preventing problems before they start.
Look for a supplement with a combination of ingredients such as pumpkin seed extract, soy germ, and cranberry extract as these have been the most proven ingredients to support healthy bladder function.
So there you have the keys to a healthy bladder. Are you giving your bladder the attention it deserves?
Shannon Clark is your go-to-girl. She holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 12 years now, and has helped others of all ages lose weight, build muscle, and improve their physical performance.