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There are millions of people in the world who are living without gallbladders. Most people have them removed as a result of gallstones. The gallbladder is a sac-like organ that sits beneath your liver to store the bile it produces. Bile consists of a mixture of many substances, among which is cholesterol. Sometimes these substances congregate and form gallstones that vary in size. If the stones grow too big, your doctor might recommend surgically removing the gallbladder. However, this can be absolutely avoided if you get into the habit of eating the best foods for gallstones.
What causes gallstones?
Because gallstones are composed of the substances found in bile, what you eat affects the content of your bile. A diet with saturated and trans fats can increase the level of cholesterol in your bile and cause stones. Examples of these foods are fast foods, fried and processed foods. Fries, hotdogs, burgers, fried meat, chips, cake, doughnut, cookies and other high-fat snacks. People who are overweight or obese are also at risk of gallstones.
What are the symptoms of gallstones?
When gallstones are small or don’t cause blockage to ducts, it is possible to have no symptoms at all. If stones are too small to cause damage, eating a rich diet of the best foods for gallstones can prevent them from growing and avert symptoms.
However, if gallstones become bigger, they can block the bile duct and produce mild to severe pain in the abdomen, stomach pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, fever, inflammation and yellowing of eyes. Some of these symptoms can be treated with the best foods for gallstones. In some cases, changes in your diet can even eliminate symptoms altogether.
What are the best foods for gallstones?
Low-fat versions of dairy are the best choice. Low fat or skim milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream cheese contain a lower content of unhealthy fats, which can reduce cholesterol. You should also opt for fats found in olive oil, nuts and some seeds instead of foods with saturated fats.
Whole grain carbohydrates have very low amounts of cholesterol-forming fats and can improve digestion significantly. Some of these foods include whole bread, whole pasta, wheat cereals, crackers, granola bars and fruit. Vegetables are also low in fat. Make sure that you don’t add unnecessary fat to servings with salad dressings, butter or mayonnaise.
For dessert, treats like frozen yoghurt and sorbet are healthier options than store-baked processed foods.
What are the worst foods for gallstones?
Deep-fried, fast foods are gallstones waiting to happen. The fat they contain turns into bad LDL cholesterol that accumulates in bile and is transported to the heart. As mentioned earlier, some cooking oils and butter also have high content of bad fats that are difficult for the stomach to process.
Foods with gluten should also be on your watch list. If gluten from wheat, rye and barley products end up in your bile, it can cause larger gallstones.
Sometimes, healthy foods like red meat, oranges, grapefruit, cauliflower and cabbage can lead to gallstone formation in others.