Your bladder is party of your urinary system, which creates, stores and carries urine in the body. Your kidneys remove urea from the blood and other toxic substances, which are then stored for elimination in the bladder, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases. In some cases, the bladder can become infected due to an overwhelming bacterial population that can quickly spread to the kidneys if left untreated. Eating certain foods can help encourage healing and reduce infection, especially for those who experience chronic urinary tract infections.
Cranberries are among the most well-known bladder-friendly foods, especially if you have a bladder infection. These berries contain proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall and may also decrease the risk of kidney stones and urine odor, according to Jacob Teitelbaum in his book "From Fatigued to Fantastic." Teitelbaum recommends eating a 1/2 cup of cranberries a day or drinking 6 to 16 oz. of fresh cranberry juice. Do not drink cranberry juice cocktail or sweetened varieties as these do not provide the same benefit of raw cranberries or their juice. The high sugar content will actually encourage bacterial proliferation within the bladder, progressing the infection, Teitelbaum notes.
Although orange juice is acidic, which is detrimental to an infected bladder, the way orange juice breaks down actually heals this organ, according to Rebecca Chalker and Kristene Whitmore in the book "Overcoming Bladder Disorders." Vitamin C will acidify the urine, thereby inhibiting bacterial growth in the bladder, John Heinerman and Lendon Smith say in their book "The Family Encyclopedia of Natural Healing." Chalker and Whitmore recommend drinking fresh-squeezed orange juice and avoiding selections from concentrate, as the vitamin C may be less effective.
Collard greens are part of the dark green leafy vegetable family and have an immense amount of essential vitamins and nutrients. According to Phyllis Balch in her book "Prescription for Dietary Wellness," collard greens are also helpful in healing bladder infections and reducing burning, itching and urgency. Collard greens may also help safeguard the bladder against cancer due to presence of antioxidant phytochemicals, Balch says.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases: Your Urinary System and How it Works
- "From Fatigued to Fantastic"; Jacob Teitelbaum; 2001
- "Overcoming Bladder Disorders"; Rebecca Chalker and Kristene Whitmore; 1990
- "The Family Encylopedia of Natural Healing"; John Heinerman and Lendon Smith; 2000
- "Prescription for Dietary Wellness"; Phyllis Balch; 2003