When you have a problem with your gallbladder, such as gallstones, the doctor might recommend you to have surgery to remove your gallbladder. You may be at higher risk of gallstones depending on your age, gender and other factors. Let us read more about gallstones, what to eat and what food to avoid when you have gallstones.
Now what is a gallbladder and what are gallstones?
Gallbladder is the organ that contains bile. Bile, which is composed of water, cholesterol, fat protein and fat salts, helps you digest fat. Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that form in your gallbladder. Gallstone sizes vary with some as the size of sand and other as large as a golf ball. A diet with a lot of fats can lead to gallstones made of cholesterol and bile salts. They may get bigger with time.
You are more likely to get gallstones if you are obese, trying to lose weight fast or have been on high-fat diet and low in fiber. Complications of gallstones include:
- inflammation of the gallbladder
- infection to the gallbladder, bile duct or liver
- inflammation of the pancreas due to gallstones blockage
5 Types of Foods that aggravate your gallstones
To prevent the pain associated with gallstones, doctors and experts advise a change in the diet. Knowing which foods to avoid will lessen the discomfort and could prevent new gallstones from forming. Consider elimination high-risk foods that might aggravate your gallstone condition.
- Fried foods like French fries, potato chips:
Eliminate deep-fried foods completely. Frying food with saturated fats or hydrogenated fats will aggravate gallstone pain and discomfort. Use olive or canola oil.
- 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.
- 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 which provide necessary calcium required by the body.
- 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.
- Refined foods that include white rice, refined sugar, white bread and refined flour pasta
Patients with gallstones must refrain from eating food containing refined ingredients. It increases the cholesterol level in the bile. Refined foods are low in fiber which is the primary cause of gallstone. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. Dietary changes might prevent you from the need for surgery.
Food good for gallbladder
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 gallstones. The diet must include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Lean meat poultry and fish
- Low-fat dairy
Gallbladder problems can be painful and in some cases, dangerous. Therefore, eating the right foods and avoiding fatty foods 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
- Lack of bowel movements for more than 3 days
- Frequent diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days