Rich in fiber and healthy fats, nuts are widely recommended as part of a healthy diet. When you have gallbladder problems, you're advised to limit your intake of fatty foods — the gallbladder is key in the digestion of fats — but if it's not working properly, a fatty diet can put undue stress on it and make your problems worse. Although nuts are high in fat, they're often recommended as part of a gallbladder diet. This is because of the fiber and healthy fats they contain. To be on the safe side, choose nuts that are naturally lower in fat.
Nuts and Gallbladder
A study published in American Journal of Epidemiology in 2004 assessed nut consumption as part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Among the 1,800 male participants with gallstone disease, the men who consumed the most nuts had a much lower risk of gallstone disease than those who ate very little or no nuts as part of their regular diet. The researchers concluded that, although high in fat, the beneficial compounds nuts contain were protective against gallbladder disease. Harvard Medical School proposes that dietary fiber, healthy fats that lower the bad LDL cholesterol and the mineral magnesium in nuts are the likely factors at play.
Nuts in a Gallbladder Diet
Many experts, including Harvard Medical School, recommend including nuts in a gallbladder diet. If you're interested in getting the health benefits of nuts, but you still want to keep your fat intake low, choose nuts that are lower in fat such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts. Also look for nuts high in fiber (almonds, pistachios and pecans) and magnesium (Brazil nuts, cashews and almonds).
Even though nuts are healthy for you, you still need to control your intake. Being overweight is a contributing factor in gallbladder problems, and nuts are high in calories. Internationally-recognized nutrition expert Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends limiting your daily intake to 1 to 2 ounces of nuts per day if you're overweight.
Foods to Avoid and Eat
Fatty foods are a major no-no when you have gallbladder problems, but not all fats are the same. Foods high in saturated fat and low in fiber and other nutrients will exacerbate gallbladder issues. Gallbladder foods to avoid include:
- Fried foods
- High-fat dairy such as cheese and whole milk
- Lard and butter
- Creamy soups
- Chicken and turkey skin
- High-fat meats
- Meat gravies
- Oils, such as coconut and palm oil
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Low-fat dairy
The Cleveland Clinic recommends that, if you're recovering from gallbladder surgery, you should add high-fiber foods back into your diet slowly, especially gas-producing foods such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, nuts, seeds and legumes, whole-grain bread and cereal. Eat these and all other foods in small portions, and choose foods that have not more than 3 grams of fat per serving.
- Live Science: Gallbladder: Function, Problems & Healthy Diet
- American Journal of Epidemiology: A Prospective Cohort Study of Nut Consumption and the Risk of Gallstone Disease in Men
- Harvard Health Publishing: In Brief: Say Nuts to Gallstones
- Almonds.com: Nutrient Comparison Chart for Tree Nuts
- Patient: Gallstones Diet Sheet
- Dr. Fuhrman: Gallbladder Disease
- Cleveland Clinic: 5 Ways to Avoid Discomfort After Your Gallbladder Removal