Support a healthy genito-urinary system
The urinary system is composed of the bladder, urethra, two kidneys, two ureters and two sphincter muscles. Physiologically it is responsible for assisting in the processing of foods and liquids, and removing a chemical called urea from the body. Taking care of the urinary system is vital to supporting good health..
Common signs of the urinary system not functioning optimally include urinary tract infections (UTI’s), kidney stones, frequent urination at night and urgent urination. These symptoms can understandably be uncomfortable as well as painful and should be addressed if persistent.
There are a number of diet and lifestyle changes you can make to support a healthy urinary system, these include:
- Staying well hydrated. It is advised to drink between 2-2.5 litres of total fluid per day, this can include juices and herbal teas. Try to avoid high sugar juice, choosing to dilute them with filtered water. Good herbal tea options to support the urinary system include Echinacea, Uva Ursi or bear berry, Cranberry and Marshmallow tea.
- Quit smoking, smokers have two to three times higher risk of developing bladder cancer than non-smokers.
- Learn kegel exercises, these can be done to strengthen the muscles that allow for better bladder control. These are often referred to as pelvic floor exercises or contracting Mula bandha in yoga.
- Try not to hold it in! Reduce your risk of developing a bladder infection by making sure you urinate regularly and completely. If you tighten your muscles to stop urinating too soon, the urine that didn’t quite escape will head back to your bladder, which can bring bacteria into your system. Also wipe from front to back to prevent any cross contamination.
- Increase your intake of fresh colourful fruit and vegetables. These are high in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals which support a healthy immune system, and therefore fight off any possible infection.
- Eat protein with every meal to provide the body with adequate protein for growth and repair, and support a healthy immune system. Boost your intake of plant based proteins such as lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, quinoa which are more alkaline than animal based proteins which tend to be more acidic forming in the body.
- Always go to the toilet after sex to help flush any bacteria out of your system, and shower using only natural products to not upset the delicate vaginal flora or microbiota. Our immune system and ability to fight off possible infections is strengthened by a healthy vaginal microbiota.
- Avoid eating too many acid forming foods such as processed foods especially processed meats, dairy, alcohol and sugar.
- Cranberry juice has been shown to help keep your bladder safe from infection by preventing bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract. Fresh juices can be enjoyed or cranberry tablets are available.