Your gallbladder is an organ that aids in digestion. Located beneath your liver, it's a small sac that holds bile, bilirubin, bile salts, fats, proteins and cholesterol. After your liver has filtered out any toxins that you may have ingested, the contents are then transported and stored in your gallbladder. Eating certain foods can disrupt the way your gallbladder functions, even if you're healthy and have never experienced any gallbladder issues.
Egg yolks are particularly high in cholesterol. A single large egg yolk contains 213 mg, enough cholesterol that you should limit your cholesterol intake for the rest of the day. If you're a healthy adult with no cholesterol issues, you can safely consume about 300 mg of cholesterol. Most individuals who have high cholesterol are usually limited to around 200 mg of cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cholesterol can severely affect your gallbladder if you consume too much. Since your gallbladder stores cholesterol, it may not be able to break down an excessive amount. The excess cholesterol that doesn't get broken down will begin to harden; this is what forms gallstones.
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Sweets and desserts contain a great amount of sugar and refined flour, which can be hard for your gallbladder to digest. Numerous desserts are made with refined flour and egg, both of which should be avoided, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. When foods are difficult for your gallbladder to process, it may cause your gallbladder to contract more than usual, which can result in abdominal pain.
Spicy and Fried Foods
If you already have gallstone symptoms or have gallbladder disease, spicy and fried foods aren't your friends. They can increase the amount of bile concentration within your gallbladder, forcing it to work harder than it already does. Fat from fried foods can clog your gallbladder and make it harder for your gallbladder to breakdown, resulting in gallstones. Spicy foods can increase acid production, which can aggravate symptoms of gallstones and gallbladder disease.
Full-Fat Dairy Products
Full-fat dairy products such as whole-fat milk, margarine, butter and heavy cream can have a similar effect as fatty or fried foods. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends eliminating suspected food allergens such as wheat, corn, soy and chemical food additives in addition to milk products.
- Mayo Clinic: Eggs: Are They Good or Bad for My Cholesterol?; Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D.; Dec. 22, 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gallbladder Disease; Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; Feb. 4, 2010
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC): Gallstones; July 2007
- Weight-Control Information Network: Dieting and Gallstones; Aug. 2008
- Mayo Clinic: Gallstones: Definition; July 25, 2009
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.