Following a gallbladder diet can help keep it healthy along with reducing the risk of painful gallbladder stones and the complications they can bring. The role of the gallbladder is to collect and store bile, which is used for proper fat digestion. Although the gallbladder does have an important function, it is not absolutely necessary to be present in the body, and that is why you have often heard of gallbladder removal.
When gallbladder problems develop, that is when the probability of its removal arises. Therefore, in order to prevent gallbladder removal, it’s important to keep it healthy, and the best way to do so is through a gallbladder diet.
Eating for your gallbladder isn’t as complicated as you may think, as many of the healthy foods you should be consuming on the regular basis also help to improve your gallbladder health. Therefore, whether you’re eating for your heart, liver, or digestion, those diets often have a double-benefit as they aid in a healthy gallbladder, too.
Healthy foods to incorporate into your gallbladder diet include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish and poultry, low-fat dairy foods, and moderate amounts of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as some studies have shown they help reduce the risk of gallstones.
On the other hand, there are foods that work against the gallbladder. These are refined carbohydrates, sweeteners, sweetened beverages, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, white flour products, processed snacks, and high-fat foods. Another risk factor is a low-calorie diet – a diet below 1,000 calories increases the risk of gallstones.
By sticking to this diet not only can you ensure you have a healthy gallbladder, but you will find your overall health improving, too.
If you have undergone the removal of your gallbladder, a special diet must be followed post-surgery to ensure you heal properly and avoid complications. Immediately after surgery, it’s best that you stick with a liquid diet and slowly incorporate soft foods like oatmeal, mashed potatoes, soup, and applesauce. Eventually, you can work your way back to your normal healthy diet.
Post-surgery, as well, you should avoid fried food, alcohol, peanut butter, red meat, greasy food, raw vegetables, and caffeine. These foods make your body work much harder and can delay recovery.
Symptoms of a gallbladder problem include nausea, vomiting, pain under the ribs, and poor digestion after meals.
Much of the foods on the “what to avoid” side of the gallbladder diet are the same ones that can lead to gallbladder symptoms. This includes junk food, high-fat dairy products, peppers, condiments, and fatty meats.
If you experience symptoms or have a known gallbladder problem, it is especially important that you avoid these foods as much as possible.
Pregnant women are susceptible to gallstones as estrogen levels rise. In order to reduce your risk, it’s important to stick with a gallbladder-specific diet.
The first important note to consider when embarking on a gallbladder diet is to reducing fat intake. Fat not only contributes to gallstones, but it can worsen symptoms of gallbladder problems.
You will then want to increase your fiber intake through fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Lastly, stay hydrated and consume whole foods. Staying hydrated aids in the breakdown of fiber and helps transport nutrients to the fetus. Sticking with unprocessed foods is also beneficial for you, your gallbladder, and your baby, as they provide maximum nutrition.