For those suffering from gallbladder issues, learning about gallbladder lifestyle tips including gallbladder friendly foods and foods that aggravate gallbladder problems could go a long way to helping ease symptoms. Following gallbladder lifestyle habits 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 a vital function, it is not 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, to prevent gallbladder removal, it’s essential to keep it healthy, and the best way to do so is through a gallbladder diet.
Diet for Gallbladder Problems
Eating for your gallbladder isn’t as complicated as you may think, as many of the healthy foods you should be consuming regularly 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.
It has been shown that consuming a more plant-based diet could help to prevent gallbladder problems. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients and especially fiber, which is essential to a healthy gallbladder. A plant-based diet also includes proteins such as beans, nuts, lentils, tofu, and tempeh, as these are excellent alternatives for red meat.
Other healthy foods to incorporate into your gallbladder diet include whole grains, lean meats, fish, shellfish and poultry, and low-fat dairy. A gallbladder diet should also include moderate amounts of alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as some studies have shown they can help reduce the risk of gallstones.
Apart from healthy foods, there are also 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.
Post-Gallbladder Removal Diet
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, 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.
Foods That Trigger Gallbladder Symptoms
Symptoms of a gallbladder problem include nausea, vomiting, pain under the ribs, and poor digestion after meals. To help reduce symptoms, there are certain foods that should be avoided to help protect the gallbladder.
Much of the foods on the “what to avoid” side of the gallbladder diet are the same ones that can lead to gallbladder symptoms. The most significant problem foods are processed and high-fat foods. As foods that are greasy or fried in such oils as peanut or vegetable oil are more challenging to break down, they can cause many gallbladder symptoms.
All junk food, high-fat dairy products, peppers, condiments, and fatty meats should be avoided, and foods with trans fats, such as commercially baked products can be harmful to the gallbladder.
If you experience symptoms or have a known gallbladder problem, it is especially important that you avoid these foods as much as possible. Alcohol and tobacco should also be avoided to reduce gallbladder symptoms.
Gallbladder Diet during Pregnancy
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.
Lifestyle Tips for Gallbladder Problems
Apart from food choices, there are many other lifestyle changes that can be taken to improve gallbladder health. One of the main reasons for gallbladder problems is obesity, so it is essential to stay physically active and in shape by exercising daily. With that being said, however, rapid weight loss should be avoided. When weight is dropped rapidly, it demands the liver and gallbladder to work overtime which can lead to more gallstones. Slow and steady weight loss is healthy and can be maintained for a longer period.
Research shows that there may be a link to food allergies and gallstone health. For those who suffer from gallbladder issues, taking an allergy test and following an elimination diet could be helpful in finding what triggers symptoms.
Smoking is known to contribute to gallbladder problems, so it is a good idea to quit, not only for the gallbladder but many other health concerns. Tobacco smoke can contribute to gallbladder dysfunction, and even be cause for gallbladder cancer.
To reduce stress on the gallbladder, there are many lifestyle changes that can be taken. Diet, exercise, and quitting smoking top the list for the most beneficial changes that can help with symptoms of gallbladder problems. When considering these lifestyle changes for the gallbladder, it is helpful to work with a healthcare professional who can monitor symptoms and make sure your body responds well to the steps taken. For those with very mild gallbladder issues, a liquid and easy-to-digest diet can be done at home to help ease symptoms. This can be easily done using liquids including chicken broth, vegetable broth, and fresh, juiced vegetables.