Diet Tips to Help Prevent Gallstones

Gallstones are a very common problem in the United States, affecting approximately 25 million people, one million of whom require treatment, which is usually surgical. If you want to avoid this outcome, watching what you eat may help keep gallstones at bay.

At our practice in Pasadena, California, board-certified surgeon Dr. Gabriel Akopian routinely and expertly handles gallbladder issues of all kinds, and our goal is to partner with patients to prevent these problems in the first place. While we can’t control everything when it comes to your health, your diet can have a major influence, which is especially true of gastrointestinal disorders like gallstones.

With that in mind, we’ve pulled together the following dietary tips that will go a long way toward helping you to prevent gallstones.

Fiber is your friend

One of the best ways to prevent these hard stones from developing in your gallbladder is to add more fiber to your diet. Fiber helps prevent cholesterol from solidifying in your gallbladder by speeding up your digestive process and reducing the amount of bile you need (bile contains cholesterol).

Some foods that are chock full of fiber include:

And we’ve saved the best for last — dark chocolate. You should look for a cocoa content of 70-95% and look for chocolates with low amounts of sugar.

Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars

What we mean by refined carbohydrates are ones that have been processed, namely white bread, pasta, and snack foods like chips and pretzels. Instead, stick to breads that contain whole grains and turn to brown rice instead of white rice. Refined carbs are essentially sugar to your body, so you’d do well to be mindful of the amounts you consume.

Speaking of sugar, any foods that contain high concentrations of sugar are to be avoided if you want to prevent gallstones. This includes cookies, candy, and sodas.

Make your fat healthy

Another great way to help your gallbladder function better is to consume healthy fats, such as olive oil and fatty fish. When it comes to olive oil, adding two tablespoons to your daily diet should do the trick. For fish, the beneficial omega-3s that support gallbladder health are found in abundance in salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

While adding these beneficial fats to your diet can help prevent gallstones, so can avoiding unhealthy fats, like those found in fried foods and processed snacks. Unfortunately, we live in a world where convenience stores and fast-food restaurants are found on every corner, and these establishments usually offer foods that are high in unhealthy fats. While we understand that convenience is a big draw, it’s equally as easy to pick up an apple or a bag of nuts when you’re hungry.

These diet tips to prevent gallstones not only fulfill this mandate very well, they also benefit many other areas of your health and can help you lose weight, making it a win-win diet all the way around.

To learn more about how your diet can affect your gallbladder, contact us at 626-788-4095.

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