Cholecystitis is a painful condition involving the inflammation of the gallbladder. In acute cholecystitis, the National Library of Medicine states that 90 percent of cases are due to gallstones that irritate the gallbladder walls, causing inflammation. Chronic cholecystitis, when the gallbladder walls are constantly inflamed and irritated, most often occurs after repeated cases of acute cholecystitis. Learn about a few simple diet options that can help you avoid this situation.
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In order to understand the basics of a cholecystitis diet, it’s important to be educated about the function of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small sac located beneath the liver. It collects and stores bile, a secretion from the liver that aids in fat digestion. The gallbladder stores this substance until a meal is eaten and there is food waiting to be digested in the small intestine. At this time, the gallbladder contracts, releasing bile into the small intestine through a duct.
According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, obesity is a major diet-related cause of gallstones. Addressing excess weight issues will provide the opportunity to evaluate a patient's entire diet and help her choose healthy options that will help prevent cholecystitis. Because rapidly losing weight can also sometimes cause cholecystitis, it's important to avoid fad diets and lose weight in a healthy way.
Because the gallbladder plays a critical role in fat digestion, the National Library of Medicine advises individuals addressing cholecystitis to maintain a diet that is low in saturated fat. Evaluate your daily food intake and look at the amount of saturated fat you eat. Choose low-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meats, and find alternatives for butter, mayonnaise and other unhealthy fatty foods. Make a habit of reading nutritional information labels on processed foods, and find ways to substitute healthier foods for high-fat options.
The New York University Langone Medical Center recommends a high-fiber diet for those wishing to prevent cholecystitis. Fiber helps speed up the digestion process and supports a healthy digestive tract. Whole grains and legumes are good sources of dietary fiber. Fruits and vegetables can also contribute to a low-fat, high-fiber diet to help reduce the risk of cholecystitis. Vary your selections, and include fruits and vegetables for snacks and as a part of every meal.
Treatments beyond dietary changes may be necessary for acute cholecystitis. These include antibiotics, pain medications and surgery. Cholecystitis can develop into a dangerous condition, and it’s important to seek medical attention if the pain is severe.