Although you can live without a gallbladder, living with gallbladder problems can be painful. Your gallbladder is a small organ near your liver. It stores bile, which your body needs to digest fat. The most common problem of the gallbladder is gallstones, which block the bile duct and prevent the release of bile. Certain foods can aggravate gallbladder problems more than other types of food. Consult your physician for specific food recommendations.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are good foods for people with gallbladder problems. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which are important to help treat and prevent gallbladder disease. Antioxidants fight off free radical damage that can contribute to a number of chronic diseases including gallbladder disease. Some vegetables, specifically dark, leafy green vegetables, are also a good source of iron. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that people with gallbladder diseases consume more iron in their diet.
If you have gallbladder disease, you may want to increase your fiber intake. Foods high in fiber, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, oats and bran can help your gallbladder function more effectively. Fiber helps to prevent cholesterol absorption, which leads to thick bile. Your body has a more difficult time passing the thick sludge-type bile and it could block your bile ducts. Consider adding fiber supplements, such as flax meal, to your diet to ensure that you are consuming enough fiber.
Lean Meats and Low-Fat Dairy
Because your gallbladder stores bile to digest fat, opt for proteins that are low in fat. Choose lean meats, such as chicken and cold-water fish. Other good protein options include soy, tofu and legumes, which are high in protein and do not contain cholesterol. When choosing dairy products, make sure that the dairy is low in fat and made with skim milk. Dairy such as yogurt, milk and cheese often have low-fat or no-fat alternatives that will be better for your gallbladder.
Foods to Avoid
Most gallbladder diets concentrate on what types of food to avoid rather than what you should eat. People with gallbladder problems should avoid foods that are high in sugar or trans-fats, such as baked goods, cookies, cakes and other processed foods. Foods high in carbohydrates, made with white flour, such as white bread or pasta, can cause flare-ups of gallbladder issues. Other foods to avoid include fried foods or foods high in saturated fat.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images