In digesting food, the gallbladder plays a crucial role among the body organs. It is a tiny, pear-shaped organ that stores bile, a liquid that helps digestion. When you eat, a hormone is released in the stomach, causing the surrounding muscles of the gallbladder to contract. This will cause bile to be released.
Cancer and gallstones are among the health issues that can attack the gallbladder. By making the right dietary choices, you can prevent such problems from arising. People living with a healthy diet have the least chance of having gallbladder disease.
Here’s a guide that can help you choose which foods to eat and avoid. It can assist those who have already had gallstones or other gallbladder disorders maintain their gallbladder health.
Foods to eat for a healthy gallbladder
The food listed below reduces the stress on the gallbladder by supporting it, easing digestion:
Eating plant-based foods provides many nutrients that the body needs. Plant-based foods are loaded with minerals, vitamins, as well as antioxidants that prevent gallbladder illnesses. The ones helping the body get rid of free radicals are antioxidants. Free radicals are toxic molecules that occur in the body due to environmental stresses and natural processes.
Processed foods are one of the sources of free radicals. When excessive free radicals are in the body, it can lead to oxidative stress. Later on, it will result in various diseases such as cancer. Among the best plant-based sources of antioxidants are kale, beetroot, green chilli, and red cabbage.
Fibre is popularly known to help with food digestion. It can also protect the gallbladder against diseases by making it easier for the stomach to process food. Fibre helps reduce the amount of secondary bile acids needed for the process. The following foods contain a high amount of fibre:
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
Protein plays an important role in the growth and repair of body tissues. Dairy products, as well as red meat, are the best sources of protein. However, these foods contain high amounts of fat, which could strain the gallbladder.
Some foods that contain low-fat protein are:
- Soy and soy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Zero fat dairy products
- Dairy alternatives like soy milk
- Legumes like lentils and beans
It is healthier if you choose fresh foods that do not contain added sugar. Dairy products and processed meats usually contain high amounts of added salt.
Omega-3 and other healthy fats might help guard the gallbladder against diseases. Among the best sources of healthy acids are nuts, cold-water fish, fish oils or flaxseed oils, and seeds. Before taking any supplements, it is recommended to ask for a doctor’s advice first.
Consuming coffee may also help protect the body against gallbladder disease. This is because coffee balances certain chemicals and affects the gallbladder’s action.
Magnesium, folate, and vitamin C
Eating these three helps prevent gallbladder disease. You can try the following sources to acquire them:
For vitamin C
- Red and green peppers
- Kiwi fruit
- Oranges and other citrus foods
- Almonds and cashews
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Beans, including black beans and edamame
- Soy milk
- Black-eyed peas
- Fortified cereals
- Beef liver
You may also acquire these three important substances from supplements. However, it’s best if you can get them from dietary sources. Again, make sure to ask your doctor for advice before taking supplements.
Taking sufficient calcium can contribute to the gallbladder’s health. The best sources of calcium are:
- Orange juice
- Dark, leafy greens vegetables like broccoli and kale
- Fortified dairy alternatives like flax or almond milk
- Dairy foods including cheese, yoghurt, and milk
It is best to choose dairy products with zero fat if you want to acquire calcium by eating dairy foods.
Foods you should avoid for a healthy gallbladder
Gallbladder problems, such as gallstones, can be exacerbated by certain foods. Therefore, people with gallbladder problems should limit or completely avoid particular food types.
The gallbladder excretes bile produced that helps to digest fats. It means that the more you consume fats, particularly trans and saturated fats, the longer it will take to process them. People who live an unhealthy diet and eat processed meats, red meats, and eggs
have a higher chance of getting gallstones.
If you are diagnosed with gallstones, undergoing gallbladder surgery is inevitable. Only entrust your health to reputable gallstone surgeons like those at londonsurgicalgroup.co.uk.
In people’s diets, carbohydrates play a vital role. Unrefined carbohydrates like oats and whole grains contain essential nutrients that benefit the body. Meanwhile, refined carbohydrates might raise the risk of gallbladder diseases. According to a study, consuming 40 grams of excess sugar every day can alleviate the symptoms of gallstones to double.
Limit your intake of the following carbohydrates:
- Added sugars and sweeteners
- Candy and chocolate
- Other refined grains
- White flour
- Premade baked goods such as cakes and cookies
Diet tips after a gallbladder removal surgery
After gallstone removal, a person can still digest food. However, they might require dietary adjustments at least during the first few weeks or days after the surgery.
Some advice you may get after undergoing a gallbladder removal surgery would be to:
- Consume foods that contain low fat for several weeks
- Eat small meals after surgery
If you experience diarrhoea, bloating, or other digestive issues:
- Avoid fatty or spicy foods
- Avoid caffeine
- Introduce more fibre into the diet gradually
- Avoid anything that makes symptoms worse
Call your doctor for advice when you experience foamy, greasy, or frothy stools. You can also improve your gallbladder health by managing your weight. Since obesity is among the risk factors of gallbladder diseases, maintain a healthy BMI to prevent further issues. However, it is also best to avoid losing weight too fast as it might strain the gallbladder and liver.
Overall, you can avoid gallbladder issues by following a healthy lifestyle and diet. A high-fibre and low-fat diet can improve gallbladder health. So, make sure to add more plant-based foods that are high in fibre, vitamin C, and antioxidants to your meals.