How you can use food to keep your bladder healthy

November 5, 2020 Providence Nutrition Team


In this article:

  • Know which foods lower your risk of bladder cancer -- and which foods increase it.

  • What you drink affects your bladder, too.

  • A Providence physician introduces foods that can help a sensitive bladder.

National Bladder Health Awareness Month in November is a time to raise awareness about bladder care. One of the best ways to do that is with a healthy diet. Good nutrition can help prevent all kinds of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Whether you’re hoping to lower your risk or maintain a healthy lifestyle after cancer treatment, the foods you eat are a crucial piece of 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.

Certain foods may lower your risk for bladder cancer

When it comes to preventing bladder cancer, food plays an important role. These fruits, veggies, and beverages offer powerful ways to arm yourself against bladder diseases.

  • Remove harmful chemicals with veggies. Bladder cancer can sometimes be the result of chemicals staying in your bladder for too long. Drinking tea and eating “cruciferous” vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, or asparagus can keep things flowing. They can even help slow down or prevent bladder cancer growth.
  • Reach for the fruit basket. Antioxidant-packed citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, limes, and lemons help lower your cancer risk. They help keep your bladder clean and functioning properly. Plus, having these antioxidant-rich foods in your arsenal is just what you need now for a stronger immune system.
  • Refresh with toxin-fighting tea. The next time you meet a friend for coffee, choose a cup of decaffeinated tea instead. Many teas will do the trick, but black, oolong, and green tea without caffeine can remove toxins from your body and lower your risk for bladder cancer.
  • Remember the 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. Make it your goal to drink enough fluids each day to stay hydrated. Water and other liquids are important for helping cells function, transporting nutrients and oxygen, and protecting organs and tissues.

Sensitive bladder? Try these bladder-friendly foods

If you have a sensitive bladder, some foods are better than others. Check out this list of bladder-friendly foods that are tasty, too.

  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Green beans
  • Winter squash including acorn, butternut, and spaghetti
  • Potatoes such as the white or sweet varieties
  • Lean proteins when baked, steamed, or broiled are less likely to bother your bladder
  • Whole grains such as rice and oats
  • Breads
  • Nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts
  • Eggs take it easy on bladder conditions

Foods you may want to 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 fats and saturated fats in fried or processed meats is best. That’s because the ingredients used to preserve these meats — such as hot dogs or sausage — may help cancer cells to grow.

Recipes for a bladder-boosting diet

Try these quick, easy recipes from the “Living Healthy Cookbook,” which is published by the Urology Care Foundation.

Day starter: Breakfast burrito

Total: 10 m   Prep: 10 m  Serves: 1 ____________________________________________________________________________209 calories, 13 g fat, 283 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 11 g protein, 163 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 465 mg potassium, 31 vitamin C ____________________________________________________________________________Start your day with a breakfast wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla! This protein-packed burrito uses spinach and tomatoes to help you get a tasty start to your routine.


1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup fresh spinach or kale

¼ cup red onion, chopped

½ cup tomato, chopped

1 egg

1 whole wheat tortilla

  1. Heat oil in a small skillet. Sauté onions, add spinach or kale and tomatoes. Cook until the onions are clear or the leaves are bright green.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together one egg. Pour the egg into the skillet with the vegetables. Scramble together until cooked.
  3. Spoon mixture into a whole wheat tortilla. Fold the bottom up, then fold the two sides toward the middle and then roll to create your burrito. Serve with fresh berries.


Lunch: Garden broccoli soup

Total: 25 m Prep: 25 m Serves: 6 ____________________________________________________________________________191 calories, 8 g fat, 223 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein, 213 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 62 mg, 680 mg potassium, 65 mg vitamin C ____________________________________________________________________________This warm broccoli soup offers a creamy and comforting way to eat your vegetables. This healthier recipe has less fat and calories than the standard cheesy broccoli soup, but it still tastes great.


1/2 cup onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon sunflower oil

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 cups chicken broth

4 cups fresh broccoli, chopped (about 11/2 pounds)

1 cup celery, chopped

2 cups carrots, chopped

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: Cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top

  1. Boil broth in a pot. Add broccoli, carrots and celery to the pot and soften the vegetables, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, sauté the onion in butter and oil until it is soft. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste, called a roux, about 1 minute. Slowly add large spoonfuls of broth into the roux and whisk together.
  3. Pour the roux into the broth with vegetables. Add almond milk, parsley, onion powder and garlic powder. Cook for 15 more minutes to blend flavors. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese.


Dinner: Garlic parmesan flounder with asparagus

Total: 25 m Prep: 10 m Serves: 4 ____________________________________________________________________________

302 calories, 19 g fat, 858 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 27 g protein,

180 mg calcium, 3 mg iron, 543 mg potassium, 10 mg vitamin C

This one-pan meal combines flounder, asparagus, garlic and a Parmesan topping for a

meal that looks as good as it tastes! If you want to add more fish into your food plan,

try this simple dish.


4 flounder fillets (about 6 ounces each)

1 pound asparagus

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, cracked

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place flounder fillets in the middle of the baking sheet and asparagus around it.

3. Brush fish and asparagus with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper.

4. Spread minced garlic on top and top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until flounder is cooked through and flaky.

6. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and serve.

Build a better bladder with good food and healthy habits 

Food alone can’t prevent bladder diseases. But studies are clear: A diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other plant foods can lower your risk. Good nutrition along with other healthy habits such as not smoking and staying active can help you keep this important little muscle in good working order.


Find a doctor

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.

Through Providence Express Care Virtual, you can also access a full range of healthcare services. 

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Related resources

National Bladder Health Awareness Month

The role nutrition plays during cancer treatment

Nutritional habits and bladder cancer

Treat Your Immune System to Healthy Foods

Urology Care Foundation

What You Want to Know About Nutrition and Bladder Cancer

7 Foods Proven to Help Prevent Cancer

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

About the Author

We are all about food! The Providence Nutrition Team loves to talk about and share our expertise on how to help you find the right diet, food types and maintenance tactics to help you live life to the fullest...while also enjoying the best foods that mother nature has to offer.

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