Your gallbladder is a sac-shaped organ that serves as the liver’s storage unit. The liver manufactures bile, which your gallbladder stores until the bile is needed to digest fats. While it is a small organ, the gallbladder can become diseased in a number of ways. For example, it could become inflamed, infected or obstructed. Painful gallstones could also develop. While severe forms of gallbladder disease may require surgical removal, changes to your diet may help minimize symptoms and possibly heal the gallbladder.
Foods with fiber help ensure more efficient digestion. High-fiber foods also help prevent future gallstones from forming. This is because fiber binds with other digested materials in your stool to help move foods more quickly through your digestive tract. Because gallstones can form when digested material moves too slowly through your digestive tract, foods with fiber can support the gallbladder. Foods with fiber include most fruits and vegetables, like apples, pears, peaches, broccoli, kale, green beans and peas. Incorporate these foods into your diet slowly, however, as eating too much fiber too quickly can cause bloating.
Foods With Vitamin C
You are more likely to experience gallstones if you have a lack of vitamin C in your diet. Instead of taking a vitamin C supplement, increase your intake of whole foods that contain vitamin C. This includes citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines and grapefruits. Juices made from these fruits also are vitamin-C sources. Tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, sweet red peppers, and potatoes also contain vitamin C.
Healthy Fat Sources
Excess fat in your diet can be one of the chief contributors of gallbladder disease. Because your gallbladder must release bile to digest fats, the gallbladder can become clogged if it produces too much bile at once. Avoid high-fat foods like pre-packaged baked goods that contain trans fats and fatty cuts of meat, like a porterhouse steak. Instead, choose healthy fat sources, like olive and vegetable oils. These oils have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the incidence of gallbladder disease. Other healthy sources of fat include oily fish like salmon, mackerel and herring.
Low-Fat Dairy Products
In addition to vitamin-C deficiencies, calcium deficiency is associated with increased risk of gallbladder disease symptoms. Regular dairy products can be too high in fat, however. Choose low-fat dairy products like skim milk, yogurt made with skim milk, fat-free cheese and low-fat cottage cheese. However, these foods can be allergenic -- only increase your intake if you are sure you are not allergic to dairy products.
- Mayo Clinic; Gallstones; July 2009
- MedlinePlus; Gallbladder Disease; July 2009
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Gallbladder Disease; 2011
- Wake Surgical Associates: Fat Restricted Diet for Gallbladder Disease;
- Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology; Low Fat Diet; Dr. Frank Jackson; 2008
- Ask the Dietitian; Gallbladder Disease; Joanne Larsen, M.S., R.D., L.D.; 2009