That being said, we’re 100 percent open to being proven wrong in this regard, and that is precisely where this pineapple cranberry smoothie from Emily Hill, the blogger and recipe developer behind Half Scratch, comes in. Not only is this deliciously refreshing tropical drink an absolute treat to sip on at any time of day, but all four of the ingredients in it will help to boost your bladder health, too.
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Ingredients you'll need to make this bladder-friendly smoothie (and why each is so good for your urinary system)
It all starts with pineapple, which is a significant source of the enzyme bromelain and has a variety of health and therapeutic benefits to offer. “Bromelain has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-microbial, and anti-thrombotic properties,” Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a Miami-based registered dietitian nutritionist and National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, previously told Well+Good. "Research has suggested that this enzyme may also be beneficial in helping reduce inflammation in those with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease."
But in addition to its anti-inflammatory and digestive benefits, the bromelain found in pineapple has a few key bladder health perks to offer as well. “Bromelain can boost the immune system and improve recovery from urinary tract infections,” says Sally Sartin, MD, a board-certified family medicine clinician and women’s health expert at K Health.
As such, notes Erin Hendriks, MD, a board-certified physician and functional medicine practitioner at Salvo Health, “Bromelain is often used as an adjunct for people suffering from inflammatory bowel conditions.”
Then, there’s natural cranberry juice, which is another great food for bladder health often associated with helping to relieve symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs). “Cranberries have phenolic compounds and flavonoids, both of which may play a role in preventing UTIs," says Dr. Hendriks. "Studies suggest that these compounds are able to help prevent infections by decreasing the number of intrusive bacteria and reducing inflammation. Cranberries are also exceptionally high in a compound called proanthocyanidins, which have long been known to have antimicrobial properties. Similar effects may be seen in the gut, where the proanthocyanidins in cranberries can prevent bacterial infections, reduce biofilm formation, and lower inflammation.”
Keep in mind, however, that to experience the greatest benefits from cranberries with respect to your urinary system, Dr. Sartin recommends taking cranberry supplements or drinking cranberry juice consistently for at least several months.
"Yogurt also plays a significant role in improving both your urinary and digestive health, as it appears to enhance immune and anti-inflammatory responses in the gut," says Dr. Hendriks.
Moreover, according to Dr. Sartin, “There is some evidence that yogurt that contains live and active cultures can be helpful in promoting overall bladder health as well as staving off UTIs. This is especially true if you eat it consistently."
Lastly, there is the almighty banana, which is high in fiber, and as such, can indirectly boost your bladder health. “The high fiber in bananas can help regulate your bowel movements, and in turn, help prevent any problems for the bladder to regulate urine flow,” Dr. Sartin says. “If the bladder can’t empty properly, one can be more at risk for developing a UTI.”
Check out the recipe for this nutritious, delicious, and bladder-friendly smoothie below.
Pineapple and cranberry bladder-friendly smoothie recipe from Half Scratched
3/4 cup R.W. Knudsen Just Cranberry Juice (or any cranberry juice)
3/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 frozen banana (frozen banana will make the smoothie a little thicker but you can use a non-frozen banana)
1 (5.3-oz) container vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 Tbsp raw organic honey (optional)
1. Place cranberry juice, pineapple, banana, and Greek yogurt in blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
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