Your gallbladder is responsible for storing bile and sending it to your intestines to break down fatty foods. When you eat a meal that has a high fat content, the intestines require bile to break down the fatty food. Ideally, you’re gallbladder is then told to send bile to your intestines and help in the digestion process!
Unfortunately, a lot of people deal with a malfunctioning gallbladder, and the most common cause of this gallbladder dysfunction is gallstones.
The bile that is stored in the gallbladder is full of cholesterol, which in this case is a good thing, but when the cholesterol begins to outweigh the bile, problems can arise. If the cholesterol balance is off in your bile, the cholesterol can actually start to crystallize!
When your cholesterol crystallizes, gallstones are formed, and this is an extremely common, and painful experience!
You’re more at risk of getting gallstones if you are:
- Eating fatty foods regularly
- Suffering from liver disease or diabetes
- On birth control
In order to lower your chances of getting gallstones or to relieve gallbladder pain (for those with the above characteristics or those without) you should try and add the following foods to your regular diet!
Studies have proven that women and men that consume more lentils, beans, and peas are less likely to develop gallstones.
It is believed that the high fiber content in these foods is what makes them remedies for gallstones and other gallstone pain. If you’re looking for foods will more fiber, I would also recommend chick peas, whole wheat grains, and fiber filled fruits like oranges!
The omega 3 fatty acid content in salmon is extremely good for gallstones because it fills the body with good monounsaturated fat, unlike the fat found in junk food. Monounsaturated fats can lower your cholesterol, which takes a strain off your gallbladder, decreases the chances of your cholesterol overpowering your bile, and inhibits crystallization.
3. Fruits and Vegetables with vitamin C
Eating fruits with vitamin C is essential in avoiding gallstones! When you are vitamin C deficient, your risk of gallstones increase astronomically because vitamin C synthesizes your bile with cholesterol. When vitamin C isn’t there to do this job, the cholesterol will not be able to blend with the bile and crystallization will occur.
My favorite vitamin C filled foods are:
- Yellow bell peppers
- Dark green leafy vegetables
A handful a day keeps the doctors away! Almonds are a great source of calcium and magnesium; both of which are crucial in properly managing your cholesterol and bile balance.
If almonds aren’t your thing, try having a little bowl of plain organic yogurt everyday! Better yet add some vitamin C filled fruits! A double-whammy of gallstone protection!
On top of eating well, you must also maintain a healthy lifestyle when trying to avoid or relieve gallbladder pain. Here’s a list of fun, easy ways to stay active and healthy!
- Incorporate a walk into you everyday! (I started writing letters to my friends and family again, so that I would be encouraged to walk to my local post office regularly!)
- Try keeping a diet diary! (This will help you keep track of progress!)
- Use a step counter and try to meet a goal by the end of the week.
- Purchase healthy cookbooks so that you’re limited to healthy, low-fat recipes!