5 Foods to Avoid When You Have Gallstones

When you have a problem with your gallbladder, such as gallbladder stones, the doctor might recommend you to have surgery to remove your gallbladder.

You may be at higher risk of gallbladder stones depending on your age, gender, and other factors. Let us read more about gallbladder stones, what to eat and what food to avoid when you have this condition. 


A 33-year-old engineer had no symptoms of gallstones. With long working hours and a sedentary lifestyle, he had developed unhealthy food habits. He skipped meals and consumed a lot of junk. (Also Read: 5 Signs That a Woman has Gallstones )

A constant unhealthy diet possibly resulted in the agony of him having gallstones in his early thirties. He ignored those gallbladder attacks and all this did not wean him off eating junk. He was completely unaware of what he was doing to himself. 

One day the abdominal pain did not stop and he had to rush to a doctor. He was diagnosed with gallbladder stones after looking at the ultrasound reports. He tried Ayurveda treatment for gallbladder stones removal and a lot of home remedies. But alas! Nothing worked. 

The doctor suggested laparoscopic surgery (cholecystectomy) to remove the gallbladder stones. For a healthy and better life, he thought of it as the right option. Therefore, it is clear that food habits and diet play an important role when you have gallstones. Consult a doctor, especially if you know you are not leading a healthy lifestyle and you notice such abdominal pain. 


Now what is a gallbladder and what are gallbladder stones?

The gallbladder is the organ that contains bile. Bile, which is composed of water, cholesterol, fat protein, and fat salts, helps you digest fat. Gallbladder stones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that form in your gallbladder.

Gallstone sizes vary with some as the size of sand and others as large as a golf ball. A diet with a lot of fats can lead to gallbladder stones made of cholesterol and bile salts. They may get bigger with time. 

You are more likely to get gallbladder stones if you are obese, trying to lose weight fast, or have been on a high-fat diet and low in fiber. Complications of gallbladder stones include:

  • inflammation of the gallbladder
  • infection in the gallbladder, bile duct, or liver
  • inflammation of the pancreas due to gallbladder stones blockage

5 Types of Food that can aggravate your gallbladder stones

Doctors and experts advise a change in the diet to prevent the pain associated with gallbladder stones. It is important to know the kind of food to avoid to minimize the discomfort and could prevent new gallbladder stones from forming. Consider eliminating high-risk food that might aggravate your gallstone condition.

  • Fried food like French fries, potato chips:

Eliminate deep-fried food completely. Frying food with saturated fats or hydrogenated fats will aggravate gallstone pain and discomfort. Use olive or canola oil.

fried food in gallstones
  • High-fat meats such as bacon, sausage, ground beef, and ribs:

It is advised to substitute fatty meats with lean meat protein such as chicken and turkey, cold-water fish. Always remove the skin and fat to avoid gallstone irritation when preparing for poultry.

meats in gallstones
  • High-fat dairy products like eggs, butter, cheese, ice cream, whole milk, and sour cream:

Eggs are high allergen food and high in cholesterol.  Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and heavy cream all contain high levels of animal fat. This increases the complications in the gallbladder.

Try to reduce the amount of dairy content or you may purchase low-fat and skim substitutes that provide the necessary calcium required by the body.

diary products in gallstones
  • Preserved food such as crackers, cookies, doughnuts:

Trans fatty acids typically present in packaged food, tend to induce gallstone symptoms. Many manufacturers have reduced or eliminated trans-fat from their products but still check nutritional labels to make sure. If in doubt, avoid them.

Preserved food such as crackers in gallstones
  • Refined food that includes white rice, refined sugar, white bread, and refined flour pasta

Patients with gallbladder stones must refrain from eating food containing refined ingredients. It increases the cholesterol level in the bile. Refined food is low in fiber which is the primary cause of gallbladder stones.

Stick to brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole-wheat pasta. Dietary changes might prevent you from the need for surgery.

white rice in gallballder

Food To Eat When Suffering From Gallbladder stones

Some foods tend to prevent gallbladder problems or reduce symptoms. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is the best way to improve digestion and prevent gallbladder stones. The diet must include:

Healthy Fats

Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids- avocados, canola, flaxseed, fish- can decrease the chances of gallbladder stones developing. Moreover, try to eat low-fat meats.

Fiber-rich foods

Fiber has several health benefits. Some of these include- losing weight and keeping the digestive health up and about. Hence, it is beneficial to eat fiber-rich foods such as whole-grain bread, cereals, fruits, and vegetables.

Some foods that are rich in fiber are-

Fruits Bananas, Oranges, Apples, Mangoes, Strawberries, Raspberries.
VegetablesCarrots, beets, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, potatoes
Beans and legumesPeas, lentils, garbanzo, or white beans
Bread and grainsWhole-grain bread, grains, and cereals
NutsAlmonds, pistachios, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds

Minerals

Minerals such as Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Folate are important to prevent stones from developing in the gallbladder. 

Vitamin CRed and green bell peppers, oranges, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, and tomatoes.
MagnesiumAlmonds, cashews, peanut, spinach, beans, soy milk, potato, avocado.
FolateBeef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, fortified cereals, asparagus.

Conclusion

Gallbladder problems can be painful and in some cases, dangerous. Therefore, consuming the right food and avoiding fat-rich food can help improve the health of your gallbladder.

Although it is common to have food-related issues after gallstone surgery, it is important to contact your surgeon if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain, especially if it worsens
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of bowel movements for more than 3 days
  • Frequent diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days

Also Read: 

Pristyn Care Provides Best Gallstone Treatment in:
AgraChennaiIndoreLudhiana
BangaloreDelhiJaipurMumbai
BhopalGurgaonKanpurNagpur
BhubaneswarGwaliorKolkataPatna
ChandigarhHyderabadLucknowPune
AhmedabadSuratMysoreKochi

FAQ

Does drinking water help with gallstones?

Water helps in emptying the gallbladder regularly and encourages bile production. This prevents the formation of further gallstones.

How can I prevent gallbladder attacks?

Do not skip meals, avoid fatty food, choose high-fiber food and exercise. Consult a doctor to get rid of the problem before it aggravates.

Can I eat eggs while suffering from gallstones?

Yes, it is okay for people suffering from gallstones to eat eggs. But remember to skip the egg yolk.

Can I treat gallstones without surgery?

With home remedies and natural ways, you can get relief from the gallbladder pain. Homeopathy medicines may also take longer than you think. These remedies may not help you get rid of gallstones permanently.