A constant urge to pee and painful burning sensation when you do pee? Many of us are all too familiar with the symptoms of cystitis. It is a common bladder problem that affects as many as 20% of women every year and a urinary tract infection or UTI is often to blame. Diet can be really important for preventing cystitis and recovering from a UTI – and, it’s not all about the cranberries.
Diet and cystitis
Our diets are too often full of things that can irritate the bladder, cause inflammation or reduce our immune system and allow infection to take hold. Maintaining a generally healthy and balanced diet will help keep your body strong and more efficient at protecting itself from infection.
Foods to eat (and drink) to help combat cystitis
Never underestimate the importance of water! Drinking more water helps dilute urine, meaning it is less concentrated and acidic, and therefore less likely to irritate the bladder. Nasty bacteria love stagnant urine. By drinking more water you empty your bladder more frequently, leaving bacteria with little time to multiply in the bladder. Aim for at least 2 litres of still water a day.
2. Unsweetened or naturally sweetened cranberry juice
Ok, so they were always going to make the cut. Cranberries and cystitis ARE a thing. Researchers believe they prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder, which makes it difficult for an infection to grow there. But it’s not as simple as all that. Cranberry juice is very slightly acidic and can sometimes irritate the bladder. Go too sweet and you feed the bacteria at the root of the infection.
One of our favourite cranberry juices is Biotta Mountain Cranberry Juice. Naturally strong and sour in flavour, it contains handpicked wild mountain cranberries that are rich in phytonutrients known to help support bladder health.
3. Fresh, green, leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale and broccoli are good options. They are great for your whole body, are packed with vital nutrients and they help to support the immune system – and the immune system is vital when it comes to dealing with unfriendly bacteria.
4. Fresh fruit
Fruit is packed with vital vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support your whole body and immune function. Make sure you eat 5 portions a day – and try to buy fresh fruit, not tinned, and organic if you can!
5. Natural yogurt and probiotics
Plain, natural yoghurt is packed full of good bacteria. These probiotics can help keep bad bacteria in check and reduce the chances of an infection taking hold in your bladder.
Other food sources of probiotics include tempeh, miso, kefir and sauerkraut.
6. Don’t forget the prebiotics...
In addition to probiotic foods you can also take A.Vogel Molkosan Original, a prebiotic supplement that helps to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. It contains L+ lactic acid which helps to create an environment in which friendly bacteria thrive. Add 1 teaspoonful to a glass of water.
If cystitis symptoms do not improve within 7 days, see your doctor or healthcare practitioner to check that symptoms are not being caused by any underlying medical condition.