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The IC Diet Food List and Elimination Diet        Print    Jump to Foods

Determining Your Personal Trigger Foods

Diet modification is the first line of defense for patients struggling with interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS). Since sensitivity to various foods can vary among individuals, it is important to determine your personal trigger foods. This three-column system is based on emerging research as well as information gathered from patient and clinician experience.

Step by Step Through the Food Categories

Bladder Friendly includes foods that rarely bother even the most sensitive IC bladders. If you are newly diagnosed, eat these foods until you experience some relief from your symptoms. It may take a few weeks, but do your best to stick with it! 

Try It includes foods that are generally safe to eat though they might bother more sensitive bladders. If your bladder is improving, these foods are safe to try. Test one food at a time, beginning with a small quantity such as 1/2 a piece of fruit or a dash of spice, gradually increasing portion size over the course of a few days. If you do not react to the food, you can add it to your own personal “Bladder Friendly” list.  If your symptoms flare after consuming a problem food, return to the foods you know to be ok for your bladder until the flare passes.

Caution includes foods which trigger bladder discomfort. Try these foods only if your bladder is no longer sensitive.

Additional Hints

  • Keep a good food and symptoms diary while you are experimenting with your diet. It can take from minutes to hours for a problem food or beverage to trigger symptoms.

  • Avoid trigger foods when starting new therapies, such as Elmiron®.  Problem foods may compromise the effectiveness of those treatments.

  • Don't be afraid to eat. In addition to the many foods that you can enjoy from the “Bladder Friendly” list, as your symptoms improve, add variety to your diet by testing foods from the “Try It” list. Some bladder patients, occasionally, may be able to consume small quantities foods from the “Caution” list.

  • Shop for fresh foods whenever possible. Processed foods often contain ingredients that can be irritating including some preservatives, artificial flavorings, additives and/or artificial vitamins. Organic foods often contain fewer additives and may be useful in an IC diet. Always read labels to look for hidden triggers.

  • Try different brands. Many "brands" of the same food have completely different ingredients and additives and could irritate the bladder.

  • Avoid foods that you know you are allergic to even if they are included in this diet guide. Pre-existing food allergies, such as an allergy to nuts or grains, can also trigger bladder irritation and/or a stronger allergic reaction.

The IC Food List      Print

Note: Foods labeled with a plus sign (+) may be especially soothing during an IC flare.

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Beverages                        

watertest to find one that works for you
juiceblueberry, pear
milk+
milk substitutes almond+, rice, Lactaid+
milkshakevanilla+
tea chamomile+, peppermint+
non-dairy creamers – check label
eggnog – non alcoholic+, without problem ingredients

juicelow-acid orange, grape, some apple, baby
coffee & coffee substitutes – herbal, low-acid decaf, roasted carob
tea – alfalfa, roasted carob
soda – root beer with ice (decaffeinated, not diet)

sports drinks – test to find one that works for you (e.g., blue Gatorade)

alcoholnot only irritating to the bladder but also contraindicated with many IC medications
watercarbonated, vitamin, flavored
juice
cranberry, orange, acai
milk – chocolate, soy
coffee – regular & decaf
teas – regular, green, herbal, iced
sodas – colas, citrus, orange, diet
drink powders – such as Kool-aid®, lemonade, orange, or powdered ice tea drinks
sports drinks
energy drinks –
guarana, mate

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Grains

breads corn bread+, oat bread+, pita, potato bread+, white bread+, Italian sweet bread, whole wheat bread (i.e. Ezekiel)
cereals most cereals without problem ingredients, oat cereal, rice cereal (hot or cold)
crackers – matzo
grains couscous, grits, millet, quinoa+, spelt
floursbuckwheat, wheat
pasta
rice
+

breadsrye, sourdough
cerealsinstant packaged hot cereal
crackerswithout problem ingredients
grainamaranth

breadsmade with unsafe ingredients and/or heavily processed and fortified
cereals – heavily preserved, sweetened, heavily fortified, flavored,
flour – soy
pasta  prepared or boxed pasta dishes
rice – boxed dishes

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Fats, Nuts, and Seeds

nuts – almonds, cashews, peanuts
butters – almond, peanut
oils – canola, coconut, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, sesame, soy
margarine
lard
shortening
salad dressing –
homemade without problem ingredients

nuts – macadamia, pecans, walnuts
mayonnaise
tahini
seeds
  sunflower seeds

shortening – butter-flavored

nuts – filberts, hazelnuts, pecans,
pistachios

oils – check label

salad dressings – mos

If you have nut or other food allergies, talk with your healthcare provider about your special diet needs.

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Meats, Fish, Poultry, Protein

eggs+
poultry – chicken+, turkey
fish+
beef+
seafood – clams, crabmeat
(not canned), lobster, shrimp
lamb+
pork
protein powder –
whey, egg whites
veal
liver –
beef or chicken

garden/veggie burgers – without soy products
beef – corned beef
sandwich meats – liverwurst, ham (fresh or boiled, without heavy preservatives or flavorings.)
bacon
anchovies
caviar
prosciutto
sausages –
without problem ingredients

cured meats – bologna, pepperoni, salami
canned crab meat
hot dogs
sausage –
most
smoked fish
soy products –
soy veggie patties, protein powder, tofu

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Dairy, Cheeses, & Substitutes

cheeses – American, mozzarella, cheddar cheese (mild), feta, ricotta+, string cheeses+
cream cheese
cottage cheese
+
ice cream+ most
milk+
milk substitutes – Lactaid
sherbet –  no citrus or chocolate flavors
Rice Dream® dessert –  vanilla
whipped cream – Cool Whip

cheesesblue cheese, brie, brick parmesan, camembert, cheddar cheese (sharp), edam, emmenthaler, gruyere hard jack, Monterey Jack, parmesan (fresh & canned), Roquefort, stilton, Swiss
buttermilk
sour cream
- accent on a baked potato or soup
pizza - plain, chicken & garlic, veggie or made with white sauce - no pepperoni
sorbet
yogurt
- blueberry, vanilla, plain

cheesesprocessed, Cheez Whiz
ice cream  caution with citrus or chocolate flavors
soy productssoy milk, soy cheeses



Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Fruits & Juices

apples – Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady
applesauce – homemade with Gala, Fuji  or Pink Lady apples
blueberries+
coconut – without preservatives
dates – without preservatives
pears+
watermelon

applesauce – commercial or baby
apricots
bananas
berries –
blackberries, raspberries, olallieberries
cherimoya
cherries –
fresh, maraschino
citrus peels
currants
figs
mango
melon –
Crenshaw, honeydew
peaches
plums
raisins –
brown
rhubarb

berries cranberries, most
citrus   lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit
dried fruitwith preservatives
grapes
guava
kiwi fruit
melons –
cantaloupe
nectarines
passion fruit
papaya
persimmon
pineapple
starfruit
strawberries
raisins –
golden

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Vegetables

asparagus
avocado
beans –
black eyed peas, garbanzo, lentils, pinto, white, most dried beans
beets
broccoli
brussels sprouts
cabbage
carrots
+
cauliflower
celery
chives

corn+
cucumber
eggplant
green beans
greens –
collard greens, kale, mustard greens, okra, swiss chard, spinach, bok choy
lettuce & most salad greens
mushrooms
olives
black
parsley
peas – green+,  snow peas, split peas
bell peppers  yellow, orange, red
potatoes+ white, yams
pumpkin
radishes
rhubarb
rutabaga
squash
+summer, winter, zucchini
turnips

beans – fava, kidney beans, lima beans, black beans
bell peppers – green
olives – green
greens – chicory, dandelion greens, purslane, turnip greens
leeks (cooked)
onions –
white, red, cooked bulb onion, raw green
tomatoes – homegrown, low acid
watercress

chili peppers
onions –
raw bulb onions
pickles
sauerkraut
soy beans
edamame, roasted
tomato – tomato sauces, tomato juice
tofu

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Soups

homemade soup & stock – from okay meats and vegetables

soups – canned, low sodium, organic soups (without problem ingredients)

bouillon – cubes, powder
canned – most
packaged soups – most

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Snack Foods

almonds
carrots
celery
chips (plain) –
corn , potato
crackers – soda or soup
fruit bars – blueberry, pear
milkshake – vanilla
oatmeal bars
peanuts
peanut butter
popcorn
pretzels –
plain
 

donuts – glazed, old fashioned
graham crackers
fruit & nut bars –
with safe ingredients
licorice
pizza –
plain, chicken & garlic, veggie or made with white sauce - no pepperoni

chips – potato (seasoned, barbequed)
dessert cakes – fast food restaurants

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Desserts & Sweets

berries – blueberries
cake – homemade pound cake+, angel food+,
homemade white/yellow cakes
+, carrot
frostings - homemade vanilla frosting, homemade caramel frosting, carob, whipped cream
carob
cookies –
oatmeal+, shortbread, sugar+
muffins – carrot
cheesecake
creme brûlée
custards
+
pie – custard, cream pie, homemade apple pie (with safe apples), pumpkin pie
divinity
sweet breads – homemade zucchini bread+
maple syrup
pastries –
plain, almond, pear
ice cream – peppermint, vanilla+
pudding – tapioca, vanilla+, rice+
milkshake – vanilla+
sweeteners – brown sugar, honey+, sugar

artificial sweeteners – Splenda® (sucralose)
candy – caramel, licorice
chocolate – white
ice cream – caramel, coconut, mango, peppermint, butter pecan
sorbet – coconut
pastries – blueberry, cinnamon
popsicles – some
sweet bread – banana
yogurt – frozen

artificial sweeteners – acesulfame K
aspartame, Nutrasweet®, saccharine, Sweet-N-Low, stevia
candy – red hot-type cinnamon
chocolate – cocoa, milk, bittersweet, dark
ice cream – chocolate, coffee, rocky road
sorbets – with problem fruits
pastries – with problem fruits
pie – pecan, mincemeat
desserts – with problem nuts
fruitcakes

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Spices, Condiments, Food Additives

allspice
almond extract
anise
basil
+
caraway seed
coriander
dill
fennel
garlic
+
mace
marjoram
+
oregano
+
poppy seed
rosemary
+
sage
+
salt
in small quantities
thyme
tarragon
vanilla extract

black pepper
celery seed
cilantro
cinnamon –
powdered
citric acid –
in small quantities
cumin (small amt)
dried parsley
dried chervil
ginger
lemon extract
mayonnaise
malt powder
nutmeg
onion powder
orange extract
turmeric

ascorbic acid
autolyzed yeast
BHA and BHT
benzoates
catsup (ketchup)
cayenne
cloves
chili powder
horseradish
hot curry powder
hydrolyzed protein
meat tenderizers
miso
mustard
oleoresin paprika
paprika
pickles
red pepper
soy sauce
tamari
vinegar
worcestershire sauce

MSG – monosodium glutamate
metabisulfites
sulfites

 

Bladder Friendly

Try It

Caution

Fiber Supplements

acacia fiber
Benefiber
®
Metamucil
® plain psyllium
bulk psyllium fiber – not sugar free

Colace®
Metamucil
® - cinnamon wafers

Metamucil®orange, berry burst
psyllium fiber sugar-free due to the presence of artificial sweeteners
senna

 


     
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Last Updated: July 24, 2014

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