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Diets For Gallbladder Problems: How You Can Stay Healthy

written by: Beth Janicek • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 2/28/2010

Diets for gallbladder problems can help those with gallbladder issues reduce pain and complications, and help others stop gallbladder problems before they start. By understanding which foods are best for your gallbladder, you can make sure your diet helps your body stay in the best shape possible.

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    Gallbladder issues, such as gall stones, are more common in some people than in others. While there are some risk factors outside of your control (such as your genes), you can play an active role in preventing problems by researching diets for gallbladder problems in particular.

    If you already have gallbladder issues, you know how important it is to take care of your body to reduce the likelihood of pain and complications. In either case, it’s essential to understand which foods can trigger gallbladder problems, and which foods can actually help your gallbladder do its job and stay healthy.

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    Your Gallbladder and Food: How They Relate

    The role of the gallbladder is to store very concentrated bile, which it dispenses when you eat fatty foods to help break those foods down. If you eat too much fatty food, if you fluctuate in weight, or if you are just genetically pre-disposed to gallbladder problems, the stress on your gallbladder to keep up can cause gallbladder problems. These usually result in gallstones, which in some people go unnoticed, but in others can cause pain and sickness, and may require surgery.

    The best thing to do is to avoid gallbladder problems before they start by eating healthy to begin with. However, if you already have problems or are recovering from gallbladder removal surgery, there are some dietary steps you can take to reduce digestive stress and help your body regain its balance.

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    Foods To Eat More Of

    As with most bodily functions, the same foods that are considered healthy in general are also considered healthy for your gallbladder. Specifically, you should try to eat foods that are low in fat and oil, and high in fiber.

    • Whole grains and high fiber cereals are a very easy place to start.
    • Eat several servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
    • For meats, eat meat less often, and aim for lean protein options such as fish, turkey, and lean chicken.
    • Same for dairy: low-fat calcium sources are better. Skim milk and frozen yogurt are good sources of skim dairy.
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    Foods To Limit

    The foods you should avoid, then, are the opposite of those foods that are gall-friendly. Basically, avoid things that are fatty, such as:

    • Fatty meat (especially red meat)
    • Fried, oily, and greasy foods
    • Fatty desserts (such as cookies, cake, and muffins: choose fruit instead)
    • Fatty dairy products, such as butter, ice cream, cheese, and sour cream.
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    Bottom Line: Not All Diets Are Good Diets

    A crash-course weight loss diet does not mean instant gallbladder health. In fact, strong swings in weight can actually be worse for your gallbladder, even if you avoid fatty foods and lose weight for periods of time. The same goes for so-called “gallbladder cleanses,” which have not been proven to flush out gallstones, and can even cause other health problems.

    The safe choice is to pursue natural, gradual weight loss through healthy habits and smart choices. Good diets for gallbladder problems are similar to diets for general health and weight loss: replace fatty foods with healthy ones, replaced processed options for whole grains and plants. The smarter you eat, the better your body can work, gallbladder included.

    Sources:

    Web MD: “Gallbladder Diet” - http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/gallbladder-diet-foods-for-gallbladder-problems

    National Library of Medicine: “Gallbladder disease” - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001138.htm

    Mayo Clinic: “Gallbladder cleanse: A ‘natural’ remedy for gallstones?” - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gallbladder-cleanse/AN01283