By Judi Cutrone, for Women's Health Foundation
For many of us, cranberry juice is as far as our knowledge extends when it comes to preventing urinary tract infections.
It might surprise you to learn that there is a whole list of foods that are good for the bladder, as well as a host of options that irritate it. Here's a breakdown of each, with a shocking twist at the end.
Good Bladder Foods
Mediterranean foods like olive oil, bread and pasta. That's right. We just told you to eat carbs.
Bananas, cherries, grapefruit and peaches. Smoothie time is happy bladder time.
Veggies like cauliflower, mushrooms, garlic and onions. Delicious in omelettes and friendly to your bladder.
Bad Bladder Foods
Caffeine. It dehydrates and its high acidic content can make your insides cry.
Soda and fruit juice. Drinks with artificial sweeteners and acidic fruit juices will make you feel like you need to go more often and more strongly. Think about that the next time you settle in for a road trip with a Big Gulp and a driver who's obsessed with "making good time."
Ketchup, red pasta sauce, vinegar, mayonnaise, soy sauce and most salad dressings. Keep the doses of these bad boys small. Tip: Buy fresh produce and meats and prepare simply. You won't even miss the condiments.
Cranberry juice. Well, technically this is good AND bad. It's true that cranberry juice reduces bacteria and the risk of bladder infection, but its acid content actually makes it a major bladder irritant.
Curious about healthy, bladder-friendly meals? Check out some of these recipes, all on the good-to-go list:
Sicilian Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta (from 101 Cookbooks)
Wild Mushroom and Stilton Galette (Smitten Kitchen)
Orecchiete with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Sage, Walnuts and Brown Butter (Kitchn Therapy)