NHS England is this week supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and hydration.
Barnaby Chappell, Consultant Urologist explains ‘Nutrition and Hydration Week is an important annual campaign which focuses on promoting awareness and encouraging people to ensure good nutrition and hydration as part of their daily diet. Medical evidence also shows that good nutrition and hydration can assist in preventing urological conditions such as kidney stones, prostate problems, bladder irritation and other symptoms. It is also recognised that it helps to keep you alert and feel generally healthier.’
Advice for staying hydrated and making healthy choices to keep your urological health tip-top:
Drink plenty of water- maintaining a healthy intake of fluids helps flush bacteria and toxins out of your body and can reduce the risk of bladder infection, kidney stones and UTIs. So, be sure to keep well hydrated, especially when engaging in exercise or activities that cause a lot of sweating. Also think about the amount of caffeine and alcohol in your diet as both act as a diuretic and may irritate your bladder.
Certain foods known to be bladder irritants include artificial sweeteners found in diet soft drinks, acidic food and drinks, such as citrus, tomatoes and apples, and spicy foods. Most people aren’t aware that meat is acidic and can irritate the bladder, while lowering gluten intake can help to reduce irritation and decrease urinary urgency, frequency, and incontinence.
If you’re prone to kidney stones you should try to avoid oxalate-rich foods such as rhubarb, celery, spinach, beetroot and sesame seeds, all of which have a very high oxalate content. Black tea, chocolate, nuts (including peanut butter), cocoa and carob are all moderately high in oxalate. You should take them in moderation but you do not need to exclude them completely. Avoid tinned, packet or processed foods such as soups, salted crisps or nuts, tinned meats, meat paste, smoked fish and fish paste, all of which have a high salt content.
We all know fruit and vegetables are required for healthy bodily function and fibre too, helps reduce constipation, which we know can impact on bladder health. It’s especially important to maintain a healthy diet to prevent prostate problems. The usual advice to eat green vegetables and vitamin-rich fruits holds true, so you should consume at least five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
By Mr Barnaby Chappell is Consultant Urological Surgeon for Western Sussex Hospital Foundation Trust, and privately at Goring Hall BMI Hospital nr Worthing. For more info visit www.westsussexurology.co.uk