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What to eat gallbladder: The request could not be satisfied

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Foods to eat and avoid

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ situated just under the liver. It collects and stores bile from the liver. Problems that can affect the gallbladder include gallstones and cancer, but dietary choices may help prevent these.

Research suggests that people who follow a healthful diet have a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Knowing what foods to choose and which ones to avoid may help the gallbladder stay healthy, especially for people who have already experienced gallstones or other gallbladder problems.

There is no specific diet for a healthy gallbladder, but following some guidelines can help keep the gallbladder healthy and functioning well.

In this article, find some diet tips for keeping the gallbladder healthy.

The gallbladder diet aims to help reduce the stress that diet can impose on the gallbladder, either by easing digestion or by supporting the gallbladder.

A 2015 study looked at the dietary habits and risk of gallstones in 114 females.

For this study, the researchers broadly described two types of diet:

Healthful diet: A high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juice, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, spices, and legumes.

Unhealthful diet: A high intake of processed meat, soft drinks, refined grains, red meat, high-fat dairy products, sugar, tea, solid fat, baked potato, snacks, egg, salt, pickled food, and sauerkraut.

People who followed a healthful diet pattern overall were less likely to develop gallbladder disease.

Here are some tips on foods that can help keep the gallbladder healthy.

Plant-based foods

A healthful diet will provide a variety of nutrients. A diet that includes a range of plant foods can provide the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy.

Plant-based foods are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These may help prevent gallbladder disease.

Antioxidants are nutrients that help rid the body of toxic molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals develop in the body as a result of natural processes and environmental stresses, including processed foods. As free radicals build up, oxidative stress can result. This can cause cell damage, which can lead to various diseases, including cancer.

Which other foods provide antioxidants? Find out here.

Lean protein

Protein is essential for the repair and growth of body tissues. Red meat and dairy products are good sources of protein, but they can also be high in fat, and a high fat intake can put stress on the gallbladder.

Low-fat protein foods are a suitable option. They include:

  • poultry
  • fish
  • zero fat dairy products
  • nuts and seeds
  • soy and soy products
  • legumes, such as beans and lentils
  • dairy alternatives, such as soy milk

Processed meats and dairy products are often high in added salt. Fresh foods without added sugar are a more healthful option.

A 2016 study found a link between a high intake vegetable protein and a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Why do people need protein? Find out here.

Fiber

Fiber supports digestive health, and it may offer protection from gallbladder disease by enhancing the movement of food through the gut and lowering the production of secondary bile acids, experts say.

In 2014, researchers looked at how a high-fiber diet affected the production of biliary sludge during a rapid weight-loss diet for people with obesity. Biliary or gallbladder sludge is a substance that increases the risk of developing gallbladder disease. It can build up in people who fast or lose weight quickly.

Those who followed the high fiber diet accumulated less gallbladder sludge, which reduced their risk of developing gallbladder disease.

This suggests that fiber can help prevent gallbladder disease in people who need to lose weight quickly, and perhaps overall.

Sources of fiber include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains

Learn more here about dietary fiber and its benefits.

Healthful fats

Unsaturated fats, such as omega-3, may help protect the gallbladder.

Sources include:

  • cold-water fish
  • nuts, such as walnuts
  • seeds, such as flaxseed
  • oils from fish or flaxseed

People can also take supplements, but they should check first with a doctor, as some supplements are not suitable for everyone.

Learn more here about how healthful and unhealthful fats.

Coffee

Moderate coffee consumption may help protect gallbladder function.

Research suggests that substances in coffee may have various benefits for gallbladder function, including balancing certain chemicals and stimulating the action of the gallbladder, and possibly intestinal activity, too.

Click here to learn more about the health benefits of coffee.

Calcium

An adequate intake of calcium in the diet can support gallbladder health.

Calcium is present in:

  • dark, leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli
  • dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • fortified dairy alternatives, such as almond or flax milk
  • sardines
  • orange juice

People with a risk of gallbladder disease should choose zero fat dairy products.

What are the best plant-based sources of calcium?

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate may help prevent gallbladder disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of these nutrients.

Vitamin C is available in:

  • red and green peppers
  • oranges and other citrus foods
  • kiwifruit
  • broccoli
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that cooking in water may remove some of it from the food. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are the best sources.

Magnesium is present in:

  • almonds and cashews
  • peanuts and peanut butter
  • spinach
  • beans, including black beans and edamame
  • soy milk
  • potato
  • avocado
  • rice
  • yogurt
  • banana

Good source of folate include:

  • beef liver
  • spinach
  • black-eyed peas
  • fortified cereals
  • asparagus

Supplements are also available, but it is best to get nutrients from dietary sources. People should ask their doctor before taking supplements.

Which foods are good sources of vitamin C? Find out here.

Some foods may increase the chances of developing gallbladder disorders such as gallstones.

People who have concerns about the health of their gallbladder should consider avoiding or limiting the following food types.

Refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a key part of most people’s diet, and unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole grains and oats, can provide essential nutrients.

However, refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of gallbladder disorders. In one study, researchers found that eating 40 grams (g) or more of sugar a day doubled the risk of gallstones with symptoms.

Carbs to limit or avoid include:

  • added sugars and sweeteners
  • white flour
  • other refined grains
  • premade baked goods, including cookies and cakes
  • candy and chocolate

Find out more here about carbohydrates.

Unhealthful fats

The gallbladder produces bile that helps the body digest fats. A high intake of fats, and especially saturated and trans fats, may put extra strain on this process.

Researchers have found that people who consume red, processed meats, and egg as part of an overall unhealthful diet have a higher risk of gallstones.

Unhealthful fats are present in:

  • red, fatty meats
  • processed meats
  • other processed foods
  • full-fat dairy products
  • fried foods
  • many fast foods
  • premade salad dressings and sauces
  • premade baked goods and desserts
  • chocolate and other candies
  • ice cream

People who have surgery to remove their gallbladder will still be able to digest food, but they may need to make some dietary changes, at least for the first few days or weeks.

A doctor may advise a person to:

  • eat small meals on the days after surgery
  • follow a low-fat diet for several weeks

If the individual experiences bloating, diarrhea, or other digestive symptoms, it may help to:

  • avoid caffeine
  • avoid spicy or fatty foods
  • avoid anything that makes symptoms worse
  • gradually introduce more fiber into the diet

Anyone who notices greasy, frothy, or foamy stools should contact their doctor.

Gallstone flush

A gallbladder cleanse, flush, or detox is a dietary trend that scientists have described as “misleading.”

Supporters say it can reset the gallbladder, flush out gallstones, improve digestive health, and enhance the function of the gallbladder.

One example is to:

  • eat a strict diet, including apple juice, for 2 weeks
  • follow up by drinking Epsom salts and a mixture of olive oil and citrus juice

There is little evidence to support the use of this diet, and experts say such recommendations may be dangerous.

Some people have reported seeing “stones” leave the body in stool, but analysis has shown these to be clumps of oil and citrus juice.

Anyone who has concerns about gallbladder disease should see a doctor.

Is detox a good idea? Find out more here.

When to see a doctor

Not everyone with gallstones will notice symptoms, but if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • nausea
  • pain
  • yellowing skin
  • a fever

Anyone who notices these symptoms should see a doctor.

People can take several steps to improve gallbladder health.

These include:

Weight management: Keeping body mass index (BMI) within a healthy range can help prevent gallbladder problems, as obesity is a risk factor.

Avoiding rapid weight loss: When a person loses weight rapidly, this can put a strain on the liver and gallbladder and may increase the risk of gallstones. It is best to lose weight steadily. Fasting or receiving nutrition intravenously can also contribute to gallbladder disease.

Avoiding allergens: In some people, an allergic reaction can trigger gallbladder symptoms. Taking an allergy test, following an elimination diet, and avoiding specific allergens may be helpful for some people.

Quitting smoking: Smoking tobacco can contribute to gallbladder dysfunction, including gallbladder cancer.

A high-fiber diet that favors plant-based foods may boost gallbladder health. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants and are low in fat and calories.

Many of the foods to avoid, such as saturated fat, are present in animal products.

However, a plant-based diet is not automatically healthful. People should favor fresh foods over processed ones and check the labels on premade foods for added fats, salt, and sugar.

Foods to eat and avoid

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ situated just under the liver. It collects and stores bile from the liver. Problems that can affect the gallbladder include gallstones and cancer, but dietary choices may help prevent these.

Research suggests that people who follow a healthful diet have a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Knowing what foods to choose and which ones to avoid may help the gallbladder stay healthy, especially for people who have already experienced gallstones or other gallbladder problems.

There is no specific diet for a healthy gallbladder, but following some guidelines can help keep the gallbladder healthy and functioning well.

In this article, find some diet tips for keeping the gallbladder healthy.

The gallbladder diet aims to help reduce the stress that diet can impose on the gallbladder, either by easing digestion or by supporting the gallbladder.

A 2015 study looked at the dietary habits and risk of gallstones in 114 females.

For this study, the researchers broadly described two types of diet:

Healthful diet: A high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juice, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, spices, and legumes.

Unhealthful diet: A high intake of processed meat, soft drinks, refined grains, red meat, high-fat dairy products, sugar, tea, solid fat, baked potato, snacks, egg, salt, pickled food, and sauerkraut.

People who followed a healthful diet pattern overall were less likely to develop gallbladder disease.

Here are some tips on foods that can help keep the gallbladder healthy.

Plant-based foods

A healthful diet will provide a variety of nutrients. A diet that includes a range of plant foods can provide the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy.

Plant-based foods are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These may help prevent gallbladder disease.

Antioxidants are nutrients that help rid the body of toxic molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals develop in the body as a result of natural processes and environmental stresses, including processed foods. As free radicals build up, oxidative stress can result. This can cause cell damage, which can lead to various diseases, including cancer.

Which other foods provide antioxidants? Find out here.

Lean protein

Protein is essential for the repair and growth of body tissues. Red meat and dairy products are good sources of protein, but they can also be high in fat, and a high fat intake can put stress on the gallbladder.

Low-fat protein foods are a suitable option. They include:

  • poultry
  • fish
  • zero fat dairy products
  • nuts and seeds
  • soy and soy products
  • legumes, such as beans and lentils
  • dairy alternatives, such as soy milk

Processed meats and dairy products are often high in added salt. Fresh foods without added sugar are a more healthful option.

A 2016 study found a link between a high intake vegetable protein and a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Why do people need protein? Find out here.

Fiber

Fiber supports digestive health, and it may offer protection from gallbladder disease by enhancing the movement of food through the gut and lowering the production of secondary bile acids, experts say.

In 2014, researchers looked at how a high-fiber diet affected the production of biliary sludge during a rapid weight-loss diet for people with obesity. Biliary or gallbladder sludge is a substance that increases the risk of developing gallbladder disease. It can build up in people who fast or lose weight quickly.

Those who followed the high fiber diet accumulated less gallbladder sludge, which reduced their risk of developing gallbladder disease.

This suggests that fiber can help prevent gallbladder disease in people who need to lose weight quickly, and perhaps overall.

Sources of fiber include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains

Learn more here about dietary fiber and its benefits.

Healthful fats

Unsaturated fats, such as omega-3, may help protect the gallbladder.

Sources include:

  • cold-water fish
  • nuts, such as walnuts
  • seeds, such as flaxseed
  • oils from fish or flaxseed

People can also take supplements, but they should check first with a doctor, as some supplements are not suitable for everyone.

Learn more here about how healthful and unhealthful fats.

Coffee

Moderate coffee consumption may help protect gallbladder function.

Research suggests that substances in coffee may have various benefits for gallbladder function, including balancing certain chemicals and stimulating the action of the gallbladder, and possibly intestinal activity, too.

Click here to learn more about the health benefits of coffee.

Calcium

An adequate intake of calcium in the diet can support gallbladder health.

Calcium is present in:

  • dark, leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli
  • dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • fortified dairy alternatives, such as almond or flax milk
  • sardines
  • orange juice

People with a risk of gallbladder disease should choose zero fat dairy products.

What are the best plant-based sources of calcium?

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate may help prevent gallbladder disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of these nutrients.

Vitamin C is available in:

  • red and green peppers
  • oranges and other citrus foods
  • kiwifruit
  • broccoli
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that cooking in water may remove some of it from the food. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are the best sources.

Magnesium is present in:

  • almonds and cashews
  • peanuts and peanut butter
  • spinach
  • beans, including black beans and edamame
  • soy milk
  • potato
  • avocado
  • rice
  • yogurt
  • banana

Good source of folate include:

  • beef liver
  • spinach
  • black-eyed peas
  • fortified cereals
  • asparagus

Supplements are also available, but it is best to get nutrients from dietary sources. People should ask their doctor before taking supplements.

Which foods are good sources of vitamin C? Find out here.

Some foods may increase the chances of developing gallbladder disorders such as gallstones.

People who have concerns about the health of their gallbladder should consider avoiding or limiting the following food types.

Refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a key part of most people’s diet, and unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole grains and oats, can provide essential nutrients.

However, refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of gallbladder disorders. In one study, researchers found that eating 40 grams (g) or more of sugar a day doubled the risk of gallstones with symptoms.

Carbs to limit or avoid include:

  • added sugars and sweeteners
  • white flour
  • other refined grains
  • premade baked goods, including cookies and cakes
  • candy and chocolate

Find out more here about carbohydrates.

Unhealthful fats

The gallbladder produces bile that helps the body digest fats. A high intake of fats, and especially saturated and trans fats, may put extra strain on this process.

Researchers have found that people who consume red, processed meats, and egg as part of an overall unhealthful diet have a higher risk of gallstones.

Unhealthful fats are present in:

  • red, fatty meats
  • processed meats
  • other processed foods
  • full-fat dairy products
  • fried foods
  • many fast foods
  • premade salad dressings and sauces
  • premade baked goods and desserts
  • chocolate and other candies
  • ice cream

People who have surgery to remove their gallbladder will still be able to digest food, but they may need to make some dietary changes, at least for the first few days or weeks.

A doctor may advise a person to:

  • eat small meals on the days after surgery
  • follow a low-fat diet for several weeks

If the individual experiences bloating, diarrhea, or other digestive symptoms, it may help to:

  • avoid caffeine
  • avoid spicy or fatty foods
  • avoid anything that makes symptoms worse
  • gradually introduce more fiber into the diet

Anyone who notices greasy, frothy, or foamy stools should contact their doctor.

Gallstone flush

A gallbladder cleanse, flush, or detox is a dietary trend that scientists have described as “misleading.”

Supporters say it can reset the gallbladder, flush out gallstones, improve digestive health, and enhance the function of the gallbladder.

One example is to:

  • eat a strict diet, including apple juice, for 2 weeks
  • follow up by drinking Epsom salts and a mixture of olive oil and citrus juice

There is little evidence to support the use of this diet, and experts say such recommendations may be dangerous.

Some people have reported seeing “stones” leave the body in stool, but analysis has shown these to be clumps of oil and citrus juice.

Anyone who has concerns about gallbladder disease should see a doctor.

Is detox a good idea? Find out more here.

When to see a doctor

Not everyone with gallstones will notice symptoms, but if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • nausea
  • pain
  • yellowing skin
  • a fever

Anyone who notices these symptoms should see a doctor.

People can take several steps to improve gallbladder health.

These include:

Weight management: Keeping body mass index (BMI) within a healthy range can help prevent gallbladder problems, as obesity is a risk factor.

Avoiding rapid weight loss: When a person loses weight rapidly, this can put a strain on the liver and gallbladder and may increase the risk of gallstones. It is best to lose weight steadily. Fasting or receiving nutrition intravenously can also contribute to gallbladder disease.

Avoiding allergens: In some people, an allergic reaction can trigger gallbladder symptoms. Taking an allergy test, following an elimination diet, and avoiding specific allergens may be helpful for some people.

Quitting smoking: Smoking tobacco can contribute to gallbladder dysfunction, including gallbladder cancer.

A high-fiber diet that favors plant-based foods may boost gallbladder health. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants and are low in fat and calories.

Many of the foods to avoid, such as saturated fat, are present in animal products.

However, a plant-based diet is not automatically healthful. People should favor fresh foods over processed ones and check the labels on premade foods for added fats, salt, and sugar.

Foods to eat and avoid

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ situated just under the liver. It collects and stores bile from the liver. Problems that can affect the gallbladder include gallstones and cancer, but dietary choices may help prevent these.

Research suggests that people who follow a healthful diet have a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Knowing what foods to choose and which ones to avoid may help the gallbladder stay healthy, especially for people who have already experienced gallstones or other gallbladder problems.

There is no specific diet for a healthy gallbladder, but following some guidelines can help keep the gallbladder healthy and functioning well.

In this article, find some diet tips for keeping the gallbladder healthy.

The gallbladder diet aims to help reduce the stress that diet can impose on the gallbladder, either by easing digestion or by supporting the gallbladder.

A 2015 study looked at the dietary habits and risk of gallstones in 114 females.

For this study, the researchers broadly described two types of diet:

Healthful diet: A high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juice, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, spices, and legumes.

Unhealthful diet: A high intake of processed meat, soft drinks, refined grains, red meat, high-fat dairy products, sugar, tea, solid fat, baked potato, snacks, egg, salt, pickled food, and sauerkraut.

People who followed a healthful diet pattern overall were less likely to develop gallbladder disease.

Here are some tips on foods that can help keep the gallbladder healthy.

Plant-based foods

A healthful diet will provide a variety of nutrients. A diet that includes a range of plant foods can provide the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy.

Plant-based foods are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These may help prevent gallbladder disease.

Antioxidants are nutrients that help rid the body of toxic molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals develop in the body as a result of natural processes and environmental stresses, including processed foods. As free radicals build up, oxidative stress can result. This can cause cell damage, which can lead to various diseases, including cancer.

Which other foods provide antioxidants? Find out here.

Lean protein

Protein is essential for the repair and growth of body tissues. Red meat and dairy products are good sources of protein, but they can also be high in fat, and a high fat intake can put stress on the gallbladder.

Low-fat protein foods are a suitable option. They include:

  • poultry
  • fish
  • zero fat dairy products
  • nuts and seeds
  • soy and soy products
  • legumes, such as beans and lentils
  • dairy alternatives, such as soy milk

Processed meats and dairy products are often high in added salt. Fresh foods without added sugar are a more healthful option.

A 2016 study found a link between a high intake vegetable protein and a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Why do people need protein? Find out here.

Fiber

Fiber supports digestive health, and it may offer protection from gallbladder disease by enhancing the movement of food through the gut and lowering the production of secondary bile acids, experts say.

In 2014, researchers looked at how a high-fiber diet affected the production of biliary sludge during a rapid weight-loss diet for people with obesity. Biliary or gallbladder sludge is a substance that increases the risk of developing gallbladder disease. It can build up in people who fast or lose weight quickly.

Those who followed the high fiber diet accumulated less gallbladder sludge, which reduced their risk of developing gallbladder disease.

This suggests that fiber can help prevent gallbladder disease in people who need to lose weight quickly, and perhaps overall.

Sources of fiber include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains

Learn more here about dietary fiber and its benefits.

Healthful fats

Unsaturated fats, such as omega-3, may help protect the gallbladder.

Sources include:

  • cold-water fish
  • nuts, such as walnuts
  • seeds, such as flaxseed
  • oils from fish or flaxseed

People can also take supplements, but they should check first with a doctor, as some supplements are not suitable for everyone.

Learn more here about how healthful and unhealthful fats.

Coffee

Moderate coffee consumption may help protect gallbladder function.

Research suggests that substances in coffee may have various benefits for gallbladder function, including balancing certain chemicals and stimulating the action of the gallbladder, and possibly intestinal activity, too.

Click here to learn more about the health benefits of coffee.

Calcium

An adequate intake of calcium in the diet can support gallbladder health.

Calcium is present in:

  • dark, leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli
  • dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • fortified dairy alternatives, such as almond or flax milk
  • sardines
  • orange juice

People with a risk of gallbladder disease should choose zero fat dairy products.

What are the best plant-based sources of calcium?

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate may help prevent gallbladder disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of these nutrients.

Vitamin C is available in:

  • red and green peppers
  • oranges and other citrus foods
  • kiwifruit
  • broccoli
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that cooking in water may remove some of it from the food. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are the best sources.

Magnesium is present in:

  • almonds and cashews
  • peanuts and peanut butter
  • spinach
  • beans, including black beans and edamame
  • soy milk
  • potato
  • avocado
  • rice
  • yogurt
  • banana

Good source of folate include:

  • beef liver
  • spinach
  • black-eyed peas
  • fortified cereals
  • asparagus

Supplements are also available, but it is best to get nutrients from dietary sources. People should ask their doctor before taking supplements.

Which foods are good sources of vitamin C? Find out here.

Some foods may increase the chances of developing gallbladder disorders such as gallstones.

People who have concerns about the health of their gallbladder should consider avoiding or limiting the following food types.

Refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a key part of most people’s diet, and unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole grains and oats, can provide essential nutrients.

However, refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of gallbladder disorders. In one study, researchers found that eating 40 grams (g) or more of sugar a day doubled the risk of gallstones with symptoms.

Carbs to limit or avoid include:

  • added sugars and sweeteners
  • white flour
  • other refined grains
  • premade baked goods, including cookies and cakes
  • candy and chocolate

Find out more here about carbohydrates.

Unhealthful fats

The gallbladder produces bile that helps the body digest fats. A high intake of fats, and especially saturated and trans fats, may put extra strain on this process.

Researchers have found that people who consume red, processed meats, and egg as part of an overall unhealthful diet have a higher risk of gallstones.

Unhealthful fats are present in:

  • red, fatty meats
  • processed meats
  • other processed foods
  • full-fat dairy products
  • fried foods
  • many fast foods
  • premade salad dressings and sauces
  • premade baked goods and desserts
  • chocolate and other candies
  • ice cream

People who have surgery to remove their gallbladder will still be able to digest food, but they may need to make some dietary changes, at least for the first few days or weeks.

A doctor may advise a person to:

  • eat small meals on the days after surgery
  • follow a low-fat diet for several weeks

If the individual experiences bloating, diarrhea, or other digestive symptoms, it may help to:

  • avoid caffeine
  • avoid spicy or fatty foods
  • avoid anything that makes symptoms worse
  • gradually introduce more fiber into the diet

Anyone who notices greasy, frothy, or foamy stools should contact their doctor.

Gallstone flush

A gallbladder cleanse, flush, or detox is a dietary trend that scientists have described as “misleading.”

Supporters say it can reset the gallbladder, flush out gallstones, improve digestive health, and enhance the function of the gallbladder.

One example is to:

  • eat a strict diet, including apple juice, for 2 weeks
  • follow up by drinking Epsom salts and a mixture of olive oil and citrus juice

There is little evidence to support the use of this diet, and experts say such recommendations may be dangerous.

Some people have reported seeing “stones” leave the body in stool, but analysis has shown these to be clumps of oil and citrus juice.

Anyone who has concerns about gallbladder disease should see a doctor.

Is detox a good idea? Find out more here.

When to see a doctor

Not everyone with gallstones will notice symptoms, but if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • nausea
  • pain
  • yellowing skin
  • a fever

Anyone who notices these symptoms should see a doctor.

People can take several steps to improve gallbladder health.

These include:

Weight management: Keeping body mass index (BMI) within a healthy range can help prevent gallbladder problems, as obesity is a risk factor.

Avoiding rapid weight loss: When a person loses weight rapidly, this can put a strain on the liver and gallbladder and may increase the risk of gallstones. It is best to lose weight steadily. Fasting or receiving nutrition intravenously can also contribute to gallbladder disease.

Avoiding allergens: In some people, an allergic reaction can trigger gallbladder symptoms. Taking an allergy test, following an elimination diet, and avoiding specific allergens may be helpful for some people.

Quitting smoking: Smoking tobacco can contribute to gallbladder dysfunction, including gallbladder cancer.

A high-fiber diet that favors plant-based foods may boost gallbladder health. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants and are low in fat and calories.

Many of the foods to avoid, such as saturated fat, are present in animal products.

However, a plant-based diet is not automatically healthful. People should favor fresh foods over processed ones and check the labels on premade foods for added fats, salt, and sugar.

Foods to eat and avoid

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ situated just under the liver. It collects and stores bile from the liver. Problems that can affect the gallbladder include gallstones and cancer, but dietary choices may help prevent these.

Research suggests that people who follow a healthful diet have a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Knowing what foods to choose and which ones to avoid may help the gallbladder stay healthy, especially for people who have already experienced gallstones or other gallbladder problems.

There is no specific diet for a healthy gallbladder, but following some guidelines can help keep the gallbladder healthy and functioning well.

In this article, find some diet tips for keeping the gallbladder healthy.

The gallbladder diet aims to help reduce the stress that diet can impose on the gallbladder, either by easing digestion or by supporting the gallbladder.

A 2015 study looked at the dietary habits and risk of gallstones in 114 females.

For this study, the researchers broadly described two types of diet:

Healthful diet: A high intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juice, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, nuts, spices, and legumes.

Unhealthful diet: A high intake of processed meat, soft drinks, refined grains, red meat, high-fat dairy products, sugar, tea, solid fat, baked potato, snacks, egg, salt, pickled food, and sauerkraut.

People who followed a healthful diet pattern overall were less likely to develop gallbladder disease.

Here are some tips on foods that can help keep the gallbladder healthy.

Plant-based foods

A healthful diet will provide a variety of nutrients. A diet that includes a range of plant foods can provide the nutrients the body needs to stay healthy.

Plant-based foods are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These may help prevent gallbladder disease.

Antioxidants are nutrients that help rid the body of toxic molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals develop in the body as a result of natural processes and environmental stresses, including processed foods. As free radicals build up, oxidative stress can result. This can cause cell damage, which can lead to various diseases, including cancer.

Which other foods provide antioxidants? Find out here.

Lean protein

Protein is essential for the repair and growth of body tissues. Red meat and dairy products are good sources of protein, but they can also be high in fat, and a high fat intake can put stress on the gallbladder.

Low-fat protein foods are a suitable option. They include:

  • poultry
  • fish
  • zero fat dairy products
  • nuts and seeds
  • soy and soy products
  • legumes, such as beans and lentils
  • dairy alternatives, such as soy milk

Processed meats and dairy products are often high in added salt. Fresh foods without added sugar are a more healthful option.

A 2016 study found a link between a high intake vegetable protein and a lower risk of gallbladder disease.

Why do people need protein? Find out here.

Fiber

Fiber supports digestive health, and it may offer protection from gallbladder disease by enhancing the movement of food through the gut and lowering the production of secondary bile acids, experts say.

In 2014, researchers looked at how a high-fiber diet affected the production of biliary sludge during a rapid weight-loss diet for people with obesity. Biliary or gallbladder sludge is a substance that increases the risk of developing gallbladder disease. It can build up in people who fast or lose weight quickly.

Those who followed the high fiber diet accumulated less gallbladder sludge, which reduced their risk of developing gallbladder disease.

This suggests that fiber can help prevent gallbladder disease in people who need to lose weight quickly, and perhaps overall.

Sources of fiber include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains

Learn more here about dietary fiber and its benefits.

Healthful fats

Unsaturated fats, such as omega-3, may help protect the gallbladder.

Sources include:

  • cold-water fish
  • nuts, such as walnuts
  • seeds, such as flaxseed
  • oils from fish or flaxseed

People can also take supplements, but they should check first with a doctor, as some supplements are not suitable for everyone.

Learn more here about how healthful and unhealthful fats.

Coffee

Moderate coffee consumption may help protect gallbladder function.

Research suggests that substances in coffee may have various benefits for gallbladder function, including balancing certain chemicals and stimulating the action of the gallbladder, and possibly intestinal activity, too.

Click here to learn more about the health benefits of coffee.

Calcium

An adequate intake of calcium in the diet can support gallbladder health.

Calcium is present in:

  • dark, leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli
  • dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • fortified dairy alternatives, such as almond or flax milk
  • sardines
  • orange juice

People with a risk of gallbladder disease should choose zero fat dairy products.

What are the best plant-based sources of calcium?

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate

Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate may help prevent gallbladder disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of these nutrients.

Vitamin C is available in:

  • red and green peppers
  • oranges and other citrus foods
  • kiwifruit
  • broccoli
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that cooking in water may remove some of it from the food. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables are the best sources.

Magnesium is present in:

  • almonds and cashews
  • peanuts and peanut butter
  • spinach
  • beans, including black beans and edamame
  • soy milk
  • potato
  • avocado
  • rice
  • yogurt
  • banana

Good source of folate include:

  • beef liver
  • spinach
  • black-eyed peas
  • fortified cereals
  • asparagus

Supplements are also available, but it is best to get nutrients from dietary sources. People should ask their doctor before taking supplements.

Which foods are good sources of vitamin C? Find out here.

Some foods may increase the chances of developing gallbladder disorders such as gallstones.

People who have concerns about the health of their gallbladder should consider avoiding or limiting the following food types.

Refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a key part of most people’s diet, and unrefined carbohydrates, such as whole grains and oats, can provide essential nutrients.

However, refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of gallbladder disorders. In one study, researchers found that eating 40 grams (g) or more of sugar a day doubled the risk of gallstones with symptoms.

Carbs to limit or avoid include:

  • added sugars and sweeteners
  • white flour
  • other refined grains
  • premade baked goods, including cookies and cakes
  • candy and chocolate

Find out more here about carbohydrates.

Unhealthful fats

The gallbladder produces bile that helps the body digest fats. A high intake of fats, and especially saturated and trans fats, may put extra strain on this process.

Researchers have found that people who consume red, processed meats, and egg as part of an overall unhealthful diet have a higher risk of gallstones.

Unhealthful fats are present in:

  • red, fatty meats
  • processed meats
  • other processed foods
  • full-fat dairy products
  • fried foods
  • many fast foods
  • premade salad dressings and sauces
  • premade baked goods and desserts
  • chocolate and other candies
  • ice cream

People who have surgery to remove their gallbladder will still be able to digest food, but they may need to make some dietary changes, at least for the first few days or weeks.

A doctor may advise a person to:

  • eat small meals on the days after surgery
  • follow a low-fat diet for several weeks

If the individual experiences bloating, diarrhea, or other digestive symptoms, it may help to:

  • avoid caffeine
  • avoid spicy or fatty foods
  • avoid anything that makes symptoms worse
  • gradually introduce more fiber into the diet

Anyone who notices greasy, frothy, or foamy stools should contact their doctor.

Gallstone flush

A gallbladder cleanse, flush, or detox is a dietary trend that scientists have described as “misleading.”

Supporters say it can reset the gallbladder, flush out gallstones, improve digestive health, and enhance the function of the gallbladder.

One example is to:

  • eat a strict diet, including apple juice, for 2 weeks
  • follow up by drinking Epsom salts and a mixture of olive oil and citrus juice

There is little evidence to support the use of this diet, and experts say such recommendations may be dangerous.

Some people have reported seeing “stones” leave the body in stool, but analysis has shown these to be clumps of oil and citrus juice.

Anyone who has concerns about gallbladder disease should see a doctor.

Is detox a good idea? Find out more here.

When to see a doctor

Not everyone with gallstones will notice symptoms, but if symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • nausea
  • pain
  • yellowing skin
  • a fever

Anyone who notices these symptoms should see a doctor.

People can take several steps to improve gallbladder health.

These include:

Weight management: Keeping body mass index (BMI) within a healthy range can help prevent gallbladder problems, as obesity is a risk factor.

Avoiding rapid weight loss: When a person loses weight rapidly, this can put a strain on the liver and gallbladder and may increase the risk of gallstones. It is best to lose weight steadily. Fasting or receiving nutrition intravenously can also contribute to gallbladder disease.

Avoiding allergens: In some people, an allergic reaction can trigger gallbladder symptoms. Taking an allergy test, following an elimination diet, and avoiding specific allergens may be helpful for some people.

Quitting smoking: Smoking tobacco can contribute to gallbladder dysfunction, including gallbladder cancer.

A high-fiber diet that favors plant-based foods may boost gallbladder health. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants and are low in fat and calories.

Many of the foods to avoid, such as saturated fat, are present in animal products.

However, a plant-based diet is not automatically healthful. People should favor fresh foods over processed ones and check the labels on premade foods for added fats, salt, and sugar.

Gallstones diet sheet | Patient

Sometimes bile pigments or calcium deposits form gallstones. Sometimes just a few small stones are formed; sometimes a great many. Occasionally, just one large stone is formed.

About one in three women and one in six men form gallstones at some stage in their lives. Gallstones become more common with increasing age. The risk of gallstones forming increases with:

  • Pregnancy.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Smoking.
  • Rapid weight loss.
  • Having a close relative with gallstones.
  • Taking certain medicines such as the contraceptive pill.
  • Eating a generally unhealthy diet, particularly a diet which is high in fat.

You can reduce your risk of developing gallstones by:

  • Eating vegetable protein – for example, beans and pulses.
  • Increasing fibre intake.
  • Eating nuts.
  • Increasing dietary calcium.
  • Increasing vitamin C intake.
  • Drinking coffee.
  • Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol.

The role of the gallbladder in digestion

The gallbladder plays a part in the digestion of food. It collects and stores bile, then releases the bile into the small intestine when food enters the small intestine from the stomach. This helps with the digestion of food because the gallbladder contains bile salts (and other substances) which break down fat.

The bile duct which connects the gallbladder to the small intestine can become blocked by gallstones. This may cause symptoms such as pain, bloating, a feeling of sickness (nausea), and being sick (vomiting). The stone may cause a blockage and make it difficult for the bile to be released from the bile duct.

Dietary changes to help with symptoms of gallstones

There is no specific diet for treating symptoms of, or to prevent, gallstones. Most people with gallstones will have surgery to remove the gallbladder in an operation called a cholecystectomy. However, eating a low-fat diet is likely to reduce symptoms while you are waiting for the operation, as the gallbladder will not be stimulated to release bile into the small intestine. If you find that any particular foods trigger the onset of the pain then try to avoid eating those foods until you have had your gallbladder removed.

Once you have had the operation there is no need to follow any particular diet, although of course it is always a good idea to eat as healthily as possible.

If you are overweight, attaining a healthy weight will be beneficial. However, it is important to do this gradually, as rapid weight loss has been associated with the development of gallstones. A safe weight loss of 1-2 lbs (0.5 to 1 kg) per week is recommended.

Summer crunch salad

Crunchy summer salad of green beans, juicy tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, fresh herbs, and parmesan…

A healthy balanced diet consists of:

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables. Aim to have at least five portions each day.
  • Plenty of starchy carbohydrates. Examples include bread, rice, cereals, pasta, potatoes, chapattis and plantain. Choose wholegrain varieties where possible.
  • Some milk and dairy products (2-3 portions per day). Choose low-fat dairy products.
  • Some meat, fish, eggs and alternatives such as beans and pulses.
  • Limited amounts of foods high in fats and sugars. Limit saturated fat that is found in animal products, such as butter, ghee, cheese, meat, cakes, biscuits and pastries. Replace these with unsaturated fats found in non-animal products, such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. But remember that unsaturated fats can also trigger gallstone pain.
  • Make sure your diet is high in fibre. This can be found in beans, pulses, fruit and vegetables, oats and wholegrain products, such as bread, pasta and rice.
  • Drink plenty of fluid – at least two litres daily, such as water or herbal teas.

Try not to eat too much fat at one mealtime. It might be helpful to have smaller, more frequent meals. Some people find that specific foods are the triggers for symptoms. Keep a food and symptom diary to identify trigger foods. Avoid these foods for a two-week trial period and note any improvements in symptoms.

Editor’s note

Jul 2017 – Dr Hayley Willacy has read a study by researchers at Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford on vegetarianism and gallstone disease – see below. British vegetarians tend to consume more fibre, less fat and have a lower BMI – all factors which are associated with lower rates of gallstone disease. Therefore, it might be expected that vegetarian diets would have a protective effect for gallstone disease. However, this study has shown there is a small but statistically significant positive association between vegetarian diet and symptomatic gallstone disease.

Cutting down on fat

A high-fat diet and fatty foods can sometimes cause discomfort and painful symptoms. They may also cause fatty stools (steatorrhoea), which are oily, pale and smelly. Steatorrhoea is a sign that fat is not being digested properly.

Here are some ways to cut down on fat in the diet.

High-fat foods Lower-fat alternatives
Butter, lard, ghee, oils, spreads.

Lower-fat/light spreads, oil sprays for cooking, jam, honey.

Whole milk, cream, full-fat yoghurts.

Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, half-fat crème fraîche, low-fat evaporated milk, low-fat or fat-free yoghurt.

Full-fat cheese, such as Cheddar, Brie and Stilton.

Cottage cheese, light soft cheeses such as Philadelphia® or Dairylea Light®, quark, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese or naturally lower-fat cheeses such as mozzarella and ricotta (matchbox-sized portion).

Snacks, such as cakes, biscuits, pastries, crisps and nuts. Toasted teacakes, low-fat popcorn, fruit and vegetables, dried fruit, meringues, rice cakes, Rich Tea® biscuits, low-fat crisps such as Quavers® or Skips®. 
Puddings, such as pies, ice cream and custards. Jelly, sugar-free jelly, low-fat custard, rice pudding made with semi-skimmed milk, sorbet, tinned or stewed fruit, low-fat yoghurts.
Sauces and dressings, such as mayonnaise, creamy sauces. Light mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, mustard, lemon juice, fat-free salad dressings, tomato-based sauces (some can contain oil), salsa, balsamic dressing.
Meats and processed meats, such as sausages, salami, corned beef, bacon, gammon, pork, lamb, beef mince, beefburgers, meat pies, fish tinned in oil. Chicken, turkey, lean ham, lean or extra lean beef mince, turkey mince, red meat with visible fat cut off, and white fish, such as cod, haddock, pollock, and fish tinned in brine or water.

Note: many processed foods that are low in fat can contain high amounts of sugar. Check the labels for high-sugar products and try to keep these to a minimum. A product that is high in sugar contains more than 10 g of sugar per 100 g.

Reduced-fat, light and low-fat are not the same thing. If a product is low-fat, this means that the product contains 3 g or fewer of fat per 100 g and is actually low in fat. A reduced-fat product does not mean that the product is necessarily low in fat. It means that the product contains 25% less fat than the original product, which is usually a very high-fat product, such as mayonnaise or Cheddar cheese. This is similar for ‘light’ products, which contain about a third fewer calories than the original product, or 50% less fat. Therefore, keep these to a minimum when choosing reduced-fat or lighter products.

Practical tips to cut down on fat

Adopting some healthy habits can really impact on the amount of fat you consume. Here are some tips you can use during cooking and food preparation.

  • Try to avoid processed foods and cook from scratch when possible. This will help you to have control over how much fat goes into your food.
  • Check labels for high-fat products. A product that is high in fat contains 17.5 g or more of fat per 100 g. Try to avoid foods with red colour coding on the label for fat. Look for foods that contain 3 g of fat or fewer.
  • Bulk out meals with vegetables and pulses. For example, a Bolognese sauce could be made with half the amount of meat by adding kidney beans and mushrooms.
  • Use oil spray when cooking, or wipe off extra oil using a paper towel.
  • Measure your oil when cooking, rather than pouring it. A good measure is about one teaspoon per person.
  • Try to use fat/oil in food only when it is absolutely necessary.
  • If you are cooking meat that is sticking to the pan, a small drop of water may help rather than adding more oil.
  • Make your own dressings using low-fat yoghurt, lemon/lime juice and herbs.
  • Remove all visible fat and skin from meat and choose leaner cuts of meat.
  • Skim fat off the top of casseroles and stews.
  • Try not to fry food. Bake, steam, boil, grill or roast on a drip tray instead.

Can you recommend a diet after gallbladder removal?

I recently had my gallbladder out and I keep having diarrhea. Is there a gallbladder removal diet I should follow?

Answer From Elizabeth Rajan, M.D.

After having their gallbladder removed (cholecystectomy), some people develop frequent loose, watery stools. In most cases, the diarrhea lasts no more than a few weeks to a few months. There isn’t a specific gallbladder removal diet that you should follow if you have this problem, but there are a few things you might consider.

First, it helps to understand why you’re having diarrhea. Diarrhea after gallbladder removal seems to be related to the release of bile directly into the intestines. Normally, the gallbladder collects and concentrates bile, releasing it when you eat to aid the digestion of fat. When the gallbladder is removed, bile is less concentrated and drains more continuously into the intestines, where it can have a laxative effect.

The amount of fat you eat at one time also plays a role. Smaller amounts of fat are easier to digest, while larger amounts can remain undigested and cause gas, bloating and diarrhea.

Although there isn’t a set gallbladder removal diet, the following tips may help minimize problems with diarrhea after you’ve had your gallbladder out:

  • Go easy on the fat. Avoid high-fat foods, fried and greasy foods, and fatty sauces and gravies for at least a week after surgery. Instead, choose fat-free or low-fat foods. Low-fat foods are those with no more than 3 grams of fat a serving. Check labels and follow the serving size listed.
  • Increase the fiber in your diet. This can help normalize bowel movements. Add soluble fiber, such as oats and barley, to your diet. But be sure to increase the amount of fiber slowly, such as over several weeks, because too much fiber at first can make gas and cramping worse.
  • Eat smaller, more-frequent meals. This may ensure a better mix with available bile. A healthy meal should include small amounts of lean protein, such as poultry, fish or fat-free dairy, along with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

You may also try limiting foods that tend to worsen diarrhea, including:

  • Caffeine
  • Dairy products
  • Very sweet foods

Talk with your doctor if your diarrhea doesn’t gradually go away or becomes more severe, or if you lose weight and become weak. Your doctor may recommend medicines, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D), which slows down intestinal movement, or medications that decrease the laxative effect of bile, such as cholestyramine (Prevalite). Your doctor may also suggest that you take a multivitamin to compensate for malabsorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

With

Elizabeth Rajan, M.D.

  • Chronic diarrhea: A concern after gallbladder removal?

May 26, 2021

Show references

  1. Blasco YR, et al. Low-fat diet after cholecystectomy: Should it be systematically recommended? Cirugia Espanola. 2020; doi:10.1016/j.cireng.2019.12.006.
  2. Disease process. Nutrition Care Manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  3. Bonis PA, et al. Approach to the adult with chronic diarrhea in resource-rich settings. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  4. Gallbladder nutrition therapy. Nutrition Care Manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  5. Diarrhea nutrition therapy. Nutrition Care Manual. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  6. Diarrhea. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diarrhea. Accessed April 16, 2021.

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Low-Fat Diet for Gallbladder Disease: Care Instructions

Overview

When you eat, the gallbladder releases bile, which helps you digest the fat in food. If you have an inflamed gallbladder, this may cause pain. A low-fat diet may give your gallbladder a rest so you can start to heal. Your doctor and dietitian can help you make an eating plan that does not irritate your digestive system. Always talk with your doctor or dietitian before you make changes in your diet.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Eat many small meals and snacks each day instead of three large meals.
  • Choose lean meats.
    • Eat no more than 5 to 6½ ounces of meat a day.
    • Cut off all fat you can see.
    • Eat chicken and turkey without the skin.
    • Many types of fish, such as salmon, lake trout, tuna, and herring, provide healthy omega-3 fat. But, avoid fish canned in oil, such as sardines in olive oil.
    • Bake, broil, or grill meats, poultry, or fish instead of frying them in butter or fat.
  • Drink or eat nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, or other milk products each day.
    • Read the labels on cheeses, and choose those with less than 5 grams of fat an ounce.
    • Try fat-free sour cream, cream cheese, or yogurt.
    • Avoid cream soups and cream sauces on pasta.
    • Eat low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet. Avoid regular ice cream.
  • Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta. Avoid high-fat foods such as croissants, scones, biscuits, waffles, doughnuts, muffins, granola, and high-fat breads.
  • Flavor your foods with herbs and spices (such as basil, tarragon, or mint), fat-free sauces, or lemon juice instead of butter. You can also use butter substitutes, fat-free mayonnaise, or fat-free dressing.
  • Try applesauce, prune puree, or mashed bananas to replace some or all of the fat when you bake.
  • Limit fats and oils, such as butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, to no more than 1 tablespoon a meal.
  • Avoid high-fat foods, such as:
    • Chocolate, whole milk, ice cream, and processed cheese.
    • Fried or buttered foods.
    • Sausage, salami, and bacon.
    • Cinnamon rolls, cakes, pies, cookies, and other pastries.
    • Prepared snack foods, such as potato chips, nut and granola bars, and mixed nuts.
    • Coconut and avocado.
  • Learn how to read food labels for serving sizes and ingredients. Fast-food and convenience-food meals often have lots of fat.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd