Health & Diet

Diets for urinary and faecal incontinence that work best are different for every body. However it is a well known fact that “you are what you eat”! Food and drink can worsen the affects of your incontinence symptoms. People who suffer from urge incontinence or an overactive bladder are more at a risk.

As with all diets there is no one size fits all. However the best way to approach your food and fluid intake is by a process of elimination and trial and error. Below are recommendations for foods and fluids that trigger incontinence in some people along with some healthy eating suggestions.

Before changing your diet you should consult your doctor to discuss your dietary requirements so it can be specifically designed around your needs.

Being overweight can put added pressure on your urinary system. As a result, this will increase the amount of incontinence you may suffer. This is especially important if your BMI (body mass index) is above 25. Leading a healthy lifestyle and eating the right foods can help improve your health and your incontinence. Just a few kilograms can make a difference. A 5% or 10% weight loss can help improve bladder control by reducing intra-abdominal pressure for both urinary stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Which foods should I avoid?

  • Acidic foods such as tomatoes can aggravate symptoms.
  • Condiments such as Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Mustard and many other sauces contain acids or bladder irritants.
  • Spicy foods such as chili and peppers.
  • Chocolate intake should be monitored or avoided (note selecting a high quality dark chocolate can have some benefits as it is extremely high in antioxidants).
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners can worsen incontinence. In fact avoiding artificial sweeteners all together is a good idea regardless of it’s affects on your symptoms.
  • Creams and cheese may worsen the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
  • Processed foods, preservatives, artificial flavours and additives like MSG and benzyl alcohol should be avoided.
  • Alcoholic, fizzy drinks, soft drinks and caffeine should be avoided.
  • Medications such as relaxants and antidepressants can make it harder to control the bladder. Discuss these possibilities with your doctor.

The 4 White Devils:

Here at Holistic we believe the following 4 groups of food are responsible for the majority of health problems in todays society. Eliminating them will drastically improve your health, vitality, emotions, abdominal bloating and energy levels.We need to understand the word “processed”.  Processing of food means changing it from its original form that it came from in nature. For example this process can include; Adding stabilisers, colours, preservatives, chemical solvents, and dyes. Processing of food in any way, shape or form diminishes the quality of food and most importantly can have a toxic affect on the body and mind.

Processed Food:

  • Wheat, white bread
  • Processed milk can have a huge impact on digestion.
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  • Processed salt, if you only adopt one thing from this article please switch to an organic sea salt or something that contains all the natural elements like Himalayan salt.

White table salt is the worst salt you can find as it has been chemically processed to be white in colour. You wouldn’t eat bleach so you definitely shouldn’t be eating anything white including white flour.

It is very difficult to find meals that could tick all these boxes so eliminating them altogether might not be possible for most of us however minimising them one by one leads you on the road to good health.

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating will help you get the right balance of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. It will help you feel your best and full of energy. Healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to control incontinence and other health problems.Eat foods that are high in fibre to help you stay regular because constipation can contribute to bladder control problems. Dietary fibre cannot be digested so it adds bulk to the stools and keeps things moving to avoid constipation.

The average adult should aim to consume approximately 25g to 35g of fibre daily.Look for wholegrain foods like fruits and vegetables that are good sources of fibre. Eat wholegrain cereals that contain barley, wheat or oats and switch to wholemeal or multigrain breads and brown rice. Try to add extra vegetables to every evening meal, snack on fruit, dried fruit, nuts or wholemeal crackers. Fibre supplements like benefibre are okay if you can’t get enough fibre from your diet. We also need to eat both soluble and insoluble fibre in our daily diets.

Soluble Fibre can help with constipation.

Good Sources of Soluble Fibre include:

Fruits, Vegetables, Oat Bran, Barley, Seed husks, Flaxseed, Psyllium, Dried Beans, Lentils, Peas, Soy milk, Soy Products.

Insoluble fibre adds bulk to faeces to prevent constipation.

Good Sources of Insoluble Fibre include:

  • Wheat bran
  • Corn bran
  • Rice bran
  • Fruit skin
  • Vegetable skin
  • Nuts, Seeds
  • Dried beans
  • Wholegrain foods

Balance is the key and you should aim to eat from each of the food groups, grains and brown rice, select lean meats for protein and various mixed vegetables. Listen to your body. How do you feel after eating a particular meal? Variety and being adventurous by choosing different foods is a great way to break bad eating habits. Explore the natural choices in food and this will help you get all the nutrients your body needs.

Moderation is important and even sweets are okay. If you enjoy chocolate, then you should enjoy a small amount of good quality pure chocolate. Chocolate is one of the highest forms of antioxidants but the key is quality over quantity and not consuming the whole block. Eat when you’re hungry and not when you’re bored and always stop when you are satisfied. As mentioned above it is important that we only use organic sea salt or Himalayan salt because it is full of natural minerals that the body needs to function at an optimal level.

Chewing food is an important part of digestion and without chewing properly, it is then left up to the intestine to break it down and you may be missing out on the full nutrients of the food. Try to avoid eating fast. Take your time to enjoy the food you have prepared by chewing it until it is close to a paste. Practice really tasting your food and being mindful of what you are eating rather than being too busy with your day and the tasks ahead. Mindlessly eating can cause you to overeat if you are focused on the TV or another stimulation, as you don’t realise what you are taking in before it’s all gone. You may also eat less as you are more focused on what you are actually eating.

A diet also needs a good active lifestyle. Get Active now. It can help you handle stress and develop a healthier appetite.