The gallbladder is a small, hollow organ located near the liver that is approximately 4 inches in diameter surrounded by a muscular wall. You’ve probably never thought much about your gallbladder unless you suffer from gallstones, which can be quite painful. Whether you are looking to alleviate the pain or prevent getting gallstones, diet is a key factor.
What are Gallstones?
Before we discuss a diet to help prevent gallbladder issues, it’s important to first understand what your gallbladder is and what it does. This small organ contains a greenish fluid called bile that is used to aid in the digestion of fatty foods.
Although gallstones may look and feel like stones, in actuality they are hard deposits that build up in your gallbladder. These deposits may consist of cholesterol, salt, or bilirubin, which is discarded red blood cells. Gallstones range in size.
They can be as small as a pea or as large as a plum. Some gallstones do not cause any symptoms and many people have gallstones and never know it. If you have a gallstone that moves to block a bile duct, you will become acutely aware of the issue due to the server pain this can cause.
What Causes Gallstones?
Gallstones are caused by an imbalance of the substances such as cholesterol, that make up bile. When there are excessive amounts of cholesterol in bile, crystals begin to form. As the crystals multiply, they stick to each other and build up to form gallstones.
Generally, if gallstones are small and able to move freely, they do not cause any symptoms. Sometimes, however, a stone will get lodged in the narrow neck of the gallbladder or in one of the bile ducts causing inflammation, pain, and other symptoms. If these stones lodge in the neck of the gallbladder or the bile ducts connecting the gallbladder to the liver and the small intestine, pain, inflammation or other symptoms can result.
Diet for Gallstones
If you are suffering from gallstones, a change in diet may help to alleviate the pain. Because the main contributor to most gallstones is an excess of cholesterol in the body, it may help to switch to a low-fat, low-cholesterol eating plan.
Be sure to include some high fiber foods that will help your body to eliminate any extra cholesterol. Healthy high fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables. Dairy products are acceptable in moderation, as long as you choose the low-fat versions. Your protein should include lean chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, and limited amounts of red meat.
You should avoid foods high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. These foods include fatty red meat, butter, ghee, cheese, cakes, biscuits, pastries, and candy.
Eating these items occasionally may not cause you pain, but overindulgence will cause a pulsation in the gallbladder that may compress on a stone that is lodged in the neck of the gallbladder or one of the bile ducts. This compression is what causes you pain.
Although a low-fat diet is recommended, you should not move to an extremely low-calorie diet. If you find that you are losing weight at a rate of more than one to two pounds per week, you should increase the number of calories you are consuming.
Along with a healthy diet, be sure to drink plenty of water. The typical recommendation is eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
Some people claim that drinking a glass of water can help to alleviate the pain caused by a gallstone attack. Limited amounts of juice are acceptable to make sure you get adequate fluids, but be sure to choose a brand without added sugar.
For more information on the best diet to help cure gallstones, read Gallstones Natural Solution, written by David Smith. Smith is a natural health researcher who cured his own gallstones using diet and natural remedies. In this e-book he shares with you 14 healthy diet secrets that will immediately put a stop to your gallstone problems.
No matter how mild your symptoms may seem, it is always best to see your doctor if you suspect that you have developed gallstones. Changing your diet can help alleviate the pain and may even help you to pass the stones without surgical intervention.
Before considering surgery, be sure to read about Smith’s experience and the information he learned that doctors aren’t likely to share. In the long run, a healthy diet will help to prevent you from ever having to worry about gallstones to begin with.