5 Nutrition Tips to Support Your Pelvic Floor
Your pelvis is the site of a lot of physiological activity, including the elimination functions (urination and defecation) and reproduction (ovaries and vagina). In addition, the pelvis is an integral part of the skeletal structure, supporting the spinal column and serving as a point of attachment for the muscles and ligaments used for walking.
The pelvic floor provides the necessary supports for all of the pelvic and abdominal organs. For an area of the body with such great responsibility, we should be paying more attention to giving our pelvis good nutrition support to help it function optimally. We believe it, and so nutrition coaching is just one aspect of the educational support included in our Libby Chair Pelvic Therapy.
Your pelvic floor gives you so much, and yet it doesn’t ask a lot in return. Here’s what you can do to ensure it gets the love it needs every day.
1. Keep the Water Flowing
Studies estimate that about 75% of North Americans are dehydrated. That means that the majority of people out there are dehydrated; they just don’t know it. When you tell people that they should drink more water, they often respond that they’ll just have to pee more often – not a good situation for women who may already be experiencing bladder leaks. However, water is extremely important to the optimal functioning of your pelvic floor.
Not only does water flush toxins and excess vitamins and minerals from the body through the urine it also helps to prevent constipation. Sure, if you drink a glass of water all in one go, you’ll be running to the bathroom soon after. The key is to drink small amounts of water frequently rather than try to get all of your water in at once. You won’t have to pee more often, but you may have to poop!
2. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet provides you with many vital vitamins and minerals that are stripped out of processed foods and are not present in meat, chicken, or grains. More importantly for your pelvic health, fruit and veggies provide the fibre that your body needs to maintain regular, healthy bowel movements.
Fibre makes bowel movements soft and of a consistency that is more likely to slide out than needing to be pushed. Fresh or frozen fruit and veggies also have the added benefit of containing high water content, so they provide additional water intake without having to drink it. Aim for alkaline and low-acid fruits and veggies for the best benefit. Bananas, apples, grapes, avocados, mango, cantaloupe, and blueberries are either alkaline or low-acid. For the veggies, go for kale, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, potatoes (yes, they are vegetables), green beans, cabbage and sweet potatoes.
3. Fats, But the Healthy Ones
Our bodies need fat to function optimally. But not all fats are created equal. Try to eat more of the unsaturated kind, such as olive oil. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish like salmon. Walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and soybeans also contain appreciable amounts. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and are antioxidants that help pelvic function in multiple ways.
4. Vitamins C and D, Magnesium
There are many vitamins and minerals that are supportive of pelvic floor functions, however, three of the most important are Vitamins C, D and magnesium. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. Vitamin D is necessary for the efficient absorption of calcium in the body and therefore is critical to the development and maintenance of healthy bones and skeletal structures. Magnesium assists in the relaxation of muscles – a key factor in pelvic health.
5. Eat Adequate Amounts of Protein
The North American diet is generally considered to consist of more protein than is necessary for optimal nutrition. That’s not even factoring in the fad of keto and low-carb diets, which focus on a lot of protein with sometimes limited fruit and vegetables. However, adequate high-quality protein is considered essential to pelvic floor health to maintain the muscles contained there. The pelvis is full of muscles, and they need protein to help them develop and stay strong and elastic.
While there is nothing you can eat that will cause pelvic dysfunction (excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol don’t help), there is also no one thing you can eat that will ensure it. Instead, eat a variety of foods, mostly fruit and vegetables, with reasonable amounts of protein, carbs and healthy fats. We recommend a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, a healthy intake of water and plenty of sleep and physical activity to maintain a healthy pelvic floor.
If you need a little help getting your pelvic floor back in shape, give us a call to talk about what you are experiencing. We’ve heard it all, and we’re not shy. Find out how you can quickly and comfortably get your pelvic floor back into shape, then keep it that way with healthy lifestyle habits and proper nutrition.
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