3 Foods for a Healthy Gallbladder

Food is fuel, and an individual’s nutrition directly affects how their body functions. Proper nutrition decreases inflammation in the body and helps your physical systems function to the best of their ability.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet tends to cause many health problems. Most Americans eat foods that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and processed oils and grains. Because they are filling up with these foods, Americans don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need to function well.

As you age, your gallbladder can experience problems related to the typical American diet. Read on to learn more about your gallbladder and three foods you can eat to keep this organ functioning smoothly.

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The Gallbladder’s Function

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located under your liver on the left side of your body. It’s part of the biliary system, a series of organs and ducts that create and move bile through your body. Bile is a digestive fluid made of bile acid, cholesterol, body salts, and several other components.

Other organs in the biliary system include the liver and pancreas. Your gallbladder stores and secretes bile created by the liver, which turns it a dark green colour. After meals, it empties bile into your small intestine to help you break down fats and other components in your food.

Some people suffer from gallstones, a condition where calcium and other minerals harden into small rocks inside your gallbladder. Depending on the severity of gallstones, they can cause minimal pain after meals or intense pain over several days during a gallbladder attack.

Gallstones can also cause infections and block bile from reaching your stomach. An unhealthy gallbladder can also affect the health of your liver and pancreas, and vice versa. These organs work together to process and eliminate toxins in your body.

Once gallbladder stones have formed, they can sometimes be broken up by high-energy shockwaves and get passed through the body. The gallbladder is not essential for processing food, so many individuals have their gallbladder surgically removed to prevent continued pain. In the U.S., around 500,000 gallbladder surgeries are performed every year.

In many cases, a diet of whole, nutritious foods can prevent gallstones from developing and help your body’s biliary system function well. Here are five of the top foods for maintaining a healthy, stone-free gallbladder:

1. Plant-Based Proteins
Americans tend to eat a diet high in saturated fats, raising the body’s cholesterol levels and leading to gallstones. While a small amount of saturated fat in your diet is fine, most Americans consume too much of this type of fat and neglect other rich sources of nutrition.

Saturated fats are found in meat, dairy, and hydrogenated oils like canola oil and margarine. Most Americans rely on meat and dairy products for their protein intake. However, beans are another source of protein, and they’re also low in unhealthy fats. Other types of plant-based proteins include tofu, lentils, nuts, and seeds.

2. High-Fibre Foods
Eating a diet rich in fibre can also promote gallbladder health. Fiber helps move food through the digestive system, reducing the pressure this system puts on the gallbladder. Studies have shown that fibre-rich diets help prevent gallstones by reducing the amount of bile left in the gallbladder after meals.

Fiber-rich foods include legumes, flaxseed, whole grains, nuts, and fruits and vegetables. Many of these foods also nourish your body with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that lead to a healthy gallbladder. Incorporating more whole foods into your diet can also help you to reduce refined grains, which work against gallbladder health.

3. Hydrating Foods

Stones are more likely to form in the body when it’s dehydrated. Drinking plenty of clean water and eating hydrating foods can help protect your gallbladder from developing gallstones. Hydration benefits other organs of your body as well – for instance, kidney stones are less likely to form with proper hydration.

Drinking water is the first step to staying hydrated. Most medical professionals recommend drinking around eight glasses of water a day, although this varies per individual. Eating fruits and vegetables can also up your water intake, and so can avocados. These fruits are full of healthy fats and also contain potassium, which can help you stay hydrated.

Food as Self-Care
Proper nutrition can help to prevent gallbladder stones and other problems. Other foods that promote gallbladder health include bitter foods like kale, fermented foods like sauerkraut, and herb supplements like milk thistle. Begin incorporating these foods into your diet today to protect and strengthen your biliary system.

If you’re already experiencing pain from your gallbladder, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible to create the best plan for future care.

*Collaborative Post

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