Nutrition and Bladder Cancer Prevention
September 10, 2021
Here’s the scoop: There’s not a lot of great research out there that promotes specific foods or supplements to prevent bladder cancer. It’s the same advice you’ve probably received over and over again. Eat healthy. But what does that mean exactly?
-Learn to love fruits and veggies. I mean love. The more organic fruits and vegetables you can get into your diet, the better! This doesn’t mean juices or smoothies. This means chewing those vegetables.
-Eat lean proteins and avoid too much red or processed meat. Ditching the ribeyes and brisket is tough, but a healthy diet means learning to like leaner proteins like chicken, turkey, bison, seafood, eggs and beans.
-Limit dairy. There is a lot of back-and-forth about dairy these days. Everything in moderation seems to be the key point that most researchers agree on. Look for low-fat dairy options like greek yogurt, mozzarella cheese, goat cheese and alternatives to cow’s milk.
-Say goodbye to processed foods. They say if you can shop the grocery store perimeter you’ve pretty much avoided the processed foods. That means organic fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and eggs. Anything packaged, in a can or that’s microwaveable is probably worth steering away from.
-Say hello to fats. Get in a small amount of healthy, unsaturated fats: avocado, almonds, seeds, olive oil and salmon are some good places to start.
-Get hydrated. Water. Become best friends with water. Shoot for 2.5 liters a DAY! How many glasses is 2.5 liters? That’s 64 ounces. That’s eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. And if you live in a hot climate or are an exercise guru, you will need to up that amount. If you are thirsty, you aren’t hydrated. If your urine isn’t clear to light yellow, you aren’t hydrated. Staying well-hydrated will benefit your skin, bladder and overall health.Here are a few tips to make water your best friend:
+Add fresh lemon, lime or cucumber to your water to give it a taste!
+Carbonated water is still water! Add in a few sparkling water options.
+Try not to gulp it all in at once.
+Drink throughout the day in small sips.
+Try to limit your water intake 2-3 hours before bedtime so you get to sleep!
+There are a ton of great portable, dishwasher safe, containers out there that can help you keep track of how much water you are actually drinking in a day. Make it a game!
+There are also many free “apps” for your phone that you can set reminding you to drink water.
-Go easy on the alcohol. Any type of alcohol is a bladder irritant and that makes your bladder unhappy. You can still go out and cheers with friends, just use moderation as your focus.
-Don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for bladder cancer. Does that include everything that you can smoke? Research points mainly to tobacco smoking, but inhaling anything that’s an irritant isn’t healthy.
-Break up with sugar. Sugar isn’t your friend. Sugar is sneaky and manipulative. It’s in everything! And it tastes so good. Limit or cut out those sugary treats and your body with thank you.
-Get smart about gluten. There’s no research that points to gluten as a risk factor for bladder cancer but gluten has been associated with inflammatory responses specific to other medical issues. Moderation is key, so limit munching on white breads, white rice and crackers.
At the end of the day, studies that investigated the association between dietary factors and bladder risk have reported inconsistent results. There is no strong evidence to suggest that specific diet or supplementations is effective in reducing bladder cancer risk, but this research is limited. We are learning more and more about how diet may affect different disease states, so don’t give up on a maintaining healthy weight, eating well, drinking water, limiting the vices and taking on a little bit of exercise to reduce your risks of bladder cancer and other diseases.
If you have any questions or concerns or wish to know more about bladder cancer and nutrition, contact Austin Urology Institute to make an appointment with a provider and our nutritionist at 512.694.8888
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