How You Can Use Food to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

May 27, 2019 Providence Health Team

A healthy diet can help prevent all kinds of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. When it comes to bladder cancer specifically, food plays an especially important role.

Whether you’re hoping to lower your risk or maintain a healthy lifestyle after cancer treatment, nutrition is a crucial piece to the puzzle. We’ve put together some must-have food tips that can help you feel good, keep your bladder healthy, and improve your overall health.

Can certain foods lower your risk for bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer can sometimes be the result of chemicals lingering in your bladder for too long. Drinking tea and eating “cruciferous” vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, or asparagus can keep things flowing and even help slow down or prevent bladder cancer growth.

You’ll also want to reach for the fruit basket or fresh-squeezed lemonade (even if it’s not summer!). Antioxidant-packed citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, limes, and lemons lower your cancer risk and keep your bladder clean and functioning properly.

The next time you meet a friend for coffee, opt for a cup of tea instead. Most teas will do the trick, but black, oolong and green tea can rid the body of toxins and lower your risk for bladder cancer.

And don’t forget the power of water. People who drink a lot of fluids, especially water, tend to have lower rates of bladder cancer because they empty their bladders more often, keeping chemicals from lingering too long.

Are there certain foods you should avoid?

While vegetables may help prevent cancer, some kinds of meat may do the opposite. Eating more than 18 ounces of red meat a week may increase your risk for bladder cancer. An average hamburger is usually around four or five ounces.

Avoiding trans- and saturated fats in fried or processed meats is ideal because the ingredients used to preserve these meats - like hot dogs or sausage - may aid cancer cell growth.

What foods should I eat during and after bladder cancer treatment?

Keeping a well-balanced diet after cancer treatment can help repair your bladder and reduce side-effects from chemotherapy or surgery. There are also dietary changes you can make depending on your symptoms. For example, some people may need to increase fiber to relieve constipation, while others may need to limit it to reduce bloating.   

Reduce bloating

  • Try cooked fruits and vegetables instead of raw
  • Avoid spicy or greasy foods
  • Limit fiber like beans or whole grains

Control nausea

  • Incorporate ginger or lemon
  • Eat foods that are easy on your stomach, like toast, rice, or broth
  • Stay hydrated; drink eight or more glasses of water a day
  • Avoid milk products and sugary foods
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine

Relieve constipation

  • Stay hydrated; drink hot liquids, like tea
  • Eat high-fiber foods like seeds, beans, whole grains, nuts, or dried fruit

Avoid weight loss

  • Eat healthy fats, like avocado or nut butter
  • Drink protein shakes or milk
  • Try high-protein snacks like nuts or granola bars

Prevent diarrhea

  • Avoid high-fiber foods like whole grains or dried fruit
  • Stay hydrated; drink eight or more glasses of water a day
  • Eat bananas, broth, or potatoes to replace electrolytes
  • Avoid spicy, greasy, or sugary food
  • Limit milk, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks

Combat taste changes

  • Incorporate lemon or other tart flavors
  • Try different spices or herbs
  • Marinate lean meats and vegetables for flavor

Alleviate dry mouth

  • Incorporate lemon or other tart flavors
  • Stay hydrated; drink eight or more glasses of water a day

Another tactic to experiment with is eating smaller, more frequent meals. Eating five or six smaller meals makes it easier for your body to process food and reduces bloating.

Looking for more advice on how healthy eating can prevent bladder cancer or help with treatment side effects? You can find a primary care doctor using our provider directory. Or you can search for one in your area.

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