Ten Things you can do for a Healthy Gallbladder
by: Angela Hermes, RD
The gallbladder is an important organ that is located behind the right lobe of the liver. The primary function of the gallbladder is to store, concentrate and secrete the bile that is produced by the liver. For this reason, the health of the gallbladder and liver are often intertwined. By transitioning toward the alkaline lifestyle, you can help to protect the health of your gallbladder.
What is bile and why do we need it?
Bile is made up of cholesterol, minerals, natural fats, bile acids, and pigments. Bile acids are steroids that are manufactured form cholesterol. Bile acids, along with lecithin, are required for the digestion and absorption of fats in the diet, while the other components of bile are metabolic waste. When these waste products become too concentrated, gall stones can from. The components of the bile must be properly balanced in order for the gall bladder to maintain health and function optimally.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your gallbladder and your other organs healthy.
1) Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. A diet that is low in fiber is one of the major causes of gall-stones. Consuming fiber rich foods on a regular basis is the best way to prevent gall stones and to keep your gallbladder in good health.
2) Drink plenty of water. Getting plenty of water is essential for maintaining the proper water content of bile. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces of water or more per day.
3) Eat foods that contain pectin. Pectin is a gel-forming dietary fiber. It binds with cholesterol and aids in its excretion. Since gall stones are made up of cholesterol, eating plenty of pectin may help to reduce gall stone formation. Foods that are good sources of pectin include fruits like apples, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
4) Consume ground flaxseeds. Flaxseeds contain mucilaginous or gel-forming types of fiber, which can support the synthesis of bile acids by the liver. This is essential for keeping your gall bladder healthy.
5) Eat your radishes. They help to increase bile flow which is helpful for maintaining a healthy gallbladder. However, individuals with existing gallbladder disease should not eat huge amounts of this vegetable.
6) Avoid eating refined sugars, as they are a risk factor for gallstones.
7) Avoid potential food allergens if you have an allergy or sensitivity. Food allergies have been shown to trigger gallbladder attacks.
8) Consume foods such as avocados, olive oil, and flax seeds that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in the production of anti-inflammatory compounds in the body.
9) Eat foods such as broccoli, bell peppers, and oranges that are high in vitamin C. A vitamin C deficiency can contribute to gallstone formation.
10) Avoid all fried foods. Foods that are fried contain large amounts of fat. A diet that is high in unhealthy and damaged fats can put an extra strain on the gallbladder and liver.
11) Exercise regularly. Maintaining a healthy body weight plays an important role in the prevention of gallstones and gallbladder disease.
The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, is especially true when it comes to maintaining gallbladder health. Eating a variety of alkaline foods, drinking plenty of water, and getting regular exercise are the best ways to keep your gallbladder and other organs healthy.
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- Marz, Russell. Medical Nutrition from Marz. Portland, OR: Oni-press, 1999.
- Murray, Michael and Joseph Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of healing Foods. New York: Atria Books, 2005.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.
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