Awarded Dietitian-Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci, explains why every woman needs to start incorporating pelvic floor friendly-foods into her diet
By Maryann Gallucci A woman’s pelvic floor is the group of muscles that stretches all the way from the tailbone to the pelvic bone. These muscles help to cushion and keep the bladder, uterus, rectum, and urethra in place. If this group of muscles cannot function properly, women can face issues with pelvic floor disorders including incontinence and prolapse. As well, they can experience constipation. A strong and healthy pelvic floor is essential for a woman’s day-to-day bodily functions. There are many exercises and techniques for women to make sure they are keeping their pelvic floor strong. Be sure to join Cheryl Coppa’s Core and Pelvic Floor Restore Program to manage and reverse pelvic floor dysfunction. In addition, a woman’s diet plays a large role. Pelvic floor friendly-foods that can help strengthen the bladder, decrease inflammation, and do not cause irritation should be incorporated into your diet including:
Pelvic Floor Friendly-Foods
🚰 Water - without carbonation or artificial sweeteners. Pure water helps flush out toxins and also helps with digestion and regular elimination. Aim for 12 to 13 eight-ounce glasses of water daily. 🥗 Low-acidic fruits, vegetables, and spices that provide important nutrients and phytonutrients to help decrease inflammation and increase fiber intake:
cooked Brussels sprouts
Hearts of palm
🐟 Omega-3 Fatty Acids have been shown to decrease inflammation foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D including Salmon, sardines, anchovies, wild and sustainably caught albacore tuna, ground flaxseeds, and chia seeds. These same foods also help with muscle function. Muscle function is important in the pelvic floor to control elimination. 🍏 Probiotics and Soluble fiber are foods that support a healthy microbiome (healthy bacteria) and not only promote good gut bacteria, but they also support healthy vaginal bacteria. Foods that contain live cultures or are fermented include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and sourdough bread.
🧄 Soluble fiber foods include oatmeal, onion, garlic apples, peas, and psyllium.
Foods That Should Be Limited Or Avoided
Just as there are foods to support the pelvic floor, there are also foods that have been shown to irritate the bladder lining and increase inflammation. The following foods should be limited or avoided: ☕ Caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea 🥤 Carbonated beverages including soda and diet soda. 🍷 Alcoholic beverages both irritate the bladder and is a diuretic. 🍅 Acidic fruits such as tomatoes, cranberries, and oranges (including orange juice) 🌶️ Spicy foods such as hot peppers 👉🏽 Artificial sweeteners such as saccharine (sweet & low), aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal), and Sucralose (Splenda). Like most things in life, everything is in moderation. The following foods should not necessarily be banned from your diet completely, but it is best to consume them sparingly. Limit intake of these items because they can lead to digestive problems and can cause overuse of the bladder. When a woman’s bladder, or any part of the pelvic floor, is overactive, it can overwork and weaken the entire group of muscles.
About Dietitian Nutritionist, Maryann Gallucci
MS, RDN, CDN, ACSM-EP-C, ACE-Health Coach. ✔️ Works in Private Practice providing nutrition counseling and fitness training. ✔️ Awarded “2021 Long Island Dietitian of the Year” by the Long Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. ✔️ Adjunct Lecturer in the Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences Department at Queens College. ✔️ Serves as the Nutrition Services and Payment Specialist Co-chair for the Long Island ✔️ Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. ✔️A member of multiple Dietetic Practice Groups.