Food Acids and Bases in Connection with Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis (commonly called IC) is a medical condition where the lining of bladder erodes and the bladder itself hardens. In this medical condition, diet can significantly contribute to the frequency of IC flares. A flare is a term used to describe the manifestations of the symptoms of a medical condition, the most common of which is pain. Thus, it is important to take note about what kinds of food an IC sufferer can eat without triggering the occurrence of a flare.

Foods High in Acid Content
Studies have shown that an increase in the acidity level of urine is directly related to the frequency of flares. The more acidic the food intake, the more acidic urine becomes and the higher is the incidence of interstitial cystitis flares. Some common foods that have a high acid content include carbonated beverages like cola, caffeinated beverages like coffee, sweeteners, soy sauce, rice, popcorn, grain products (bread, pastries and crackers), cheese, nuts (walnuts, cashews, filberts, macadamia), peanuts, dried coconut, nutmeg, alcoholic drinks, sweetened yoghurt, table salt, fish and meat, oats, wheat, bran, rye, wheat germ, pasta, beans (red, garbanzo, black and white), seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and vinegar. For a person with interstitial cystitis, these foods should be avoided as much as possible.

Foods that are Considered Alkaline
To neutralize excess acid in urine, a person with interstitial cystitis can start a diet with foods that have high alkalinity. Some common alkaline foods include pignoli, chestnuts, sprouts (alfalfa, radish and chia), unsalted butter, eggs, fruits (except plums, cranberries, prunes and blueberries), peas, arrowroot flour, herbal teas, miso, brewer’s yeast, whey, unpasteurized honey, syrup made of brown rice, almonds, fresh coconuts, unsprouted sesame, milk, cream, vegetables (except beets and peppers), beans (string, lima, snap and soy), potatoes, garlic, cayenne, most herbs, gelatine, vanilla extract, unprocessed salt, cold-pressed oils (unprocessed), plain yoghurt, fruits and vegetable juices.

Consistent Hydration as a Method of Flare Prevention
Avoiding the occurrence of a flare means keeping the acid level in urine at low to normal levels. While neutralizing excess acid can mean taking in foods that are non-acidic or those that have high alkalinity, another way to prevent the buildup of acid is to effectively hydrate the body. Taking in plenty of water and ensuring that urine is as clear and colorless as possible is one way to prevent the occurrence of flares. It will also help prevent the worsening of interstitial cystitis.

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