The gallbladder is the silent soldier of your body that gets affected with gallstones. It is a small pear-shaped organ that stores and releases bile (a liquid produced by the liver) to help the body digest fats. Among the different problems that afflict this small organ, the most common are gallstones, which are hard stones similar to crystals that form in the gallbladder. Gallstones can be cholesterol stones, which form when bile forms crystals with cholesterol, or pigment stones, which form when bile is combined with calcium salts and other substances. Although the exact cause of gallstones is unknown, it is believed to be caused by any of the following factors.
- An increase in bile cholesterol levels
- Insufficient bile salts, which prevent the dissolution of cholesterol
- Other substances in bile that lead to the formation of cholesterol crystals
- Concentrated bile
Factors such as obesity and poor diet increase the risk of developing gallstones. If you are looking to prevent the formation of gallstones naturally, here are 6 foods that can help you.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has long been known for its many health benefits, including the prevention of gallstones.
“It increases the flow of bile, which improves the digestion of fats”.
This, in turn, reduces the risk of gallstones. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels and break down elements that might otherwise form gallstones. You can consume 1 tablespoon of turmeric in one day. You can add it to your food while cooking or mix it with warm milk or water and honey. To increase its absorption, you can also add a little black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine , the active ingredient that gives pepper its itching and improves curcumin absorption. Although turmeric helps maintain gallbladder health, it also has anticoagulant effects. Therefore, if you are taking anticoagulant medications or have bile duct obstructions, talk to your doctor before taking them.
2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:
The gallbladder works with the liver to eliminate toxins from the body. Therefore, to prevent cholesterol and calcium from crystallizing and forming gallstones, the gallbladder and liver must be detoxified regularly. Eating alkalizing fruits and vegetables such as lemons, apples, beets, celery and tomatoes reduces inflammation and detoxifies both the liver and gallbladder. Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices is also beneficial for this same reason. Raw unfiltered apple juice, in particular, is very useful, as it contains a large amount of pectin , which not only softens existing gallstones, but also prevents the formation of new ones.
3. Foods Rich in Healthy Fats:
A sufficient consumption of healthy fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids) reduces the level of cholesterol in your body, decreasing your risk of gallstones. Because your body cannot produce many of those fats, incorporating foods rich in them can benefit you. Add olive oil to your food for the supply of monounsaturated fats. Also, eat fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout, mackerel and sardines to supply your body with omega-3 and polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids. You can add a splash of lemon to olive oil to make homemade, acidic and healthy vinaigrette. Add it to fresh salads and eat them regularly. This vinaigrette also goes well with the fish.
Caffeine is controversial, but a cup of steaming coffee may help prevent gallstones in addition to waking your body. It is said that those who drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day have a lower risk of gallstones than those who do not. The effect of caffeine in reducing the risk of gallstones may be associated with its ability to stimulate bile flow. Although a cup of coffee usually does not harm, consult your doctor before increasing your caffeine intake.
5. Foods Rich in Fiber:
Dietary fiber prevents the accumulation of cholesterol in the bile, which reduces the chances of gallstone formation. Therefore, eating foods that are rich sources of dietary fiber such as legumes, oats, barley, sweet potatoes, turnips, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, asparagus, flax seeds, oranges, apricots, grapefruit and mangoes can help you avoid gallstones . Try a combination of your favorites among these foods to make sure you get enough fiber from each meal.
6. Foods Rich in Iron:
An iron deficiency increases the risk of gallstones. Therefore, start eating iron-rich foods such as spinach, kale, algae and whole grains to increase cholesterol metabolism and prevent the formation of gallstones. In addition to eating these foods, here are some eating habits that you could incorporate to prevent gallstones.
Eating Habits that Can Reduce the Risk of Gallstones:
- Do not skip meals: Skipping meals causes a buildup of bile in the gallbladder. And until you have your next meal, bile will continue to accumulate, increasing the chances of gallstones. Eat small meals at regular intervals during the day to allow bile to continue to be released from the gallbladder into the small intestine.
- Follow a well-balanced diet: Foods high in calories and fat increase the risk of gallstones. Therefore, eat a balanced diet low in high-fat foods such as chips, pizza and ice cream. Be sure to include more plant-based foods in all your meals to let your alkalizing magic work in your gallbladder.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Accelerated diets and rapid weight loss can cause gallstones. Therefore, if you intend to lose weight, do it slowly by eating well and incorporating the exercise into your daily routine.