The gallbladder is found under the liver. It stores and releases bile, a yellow-brown digestive enzyme produced by the liver that helps in digesting fats. Before a meal, it is about the size of a small pear as it may be full of bile. But after meals, it is empty and flat.
Some of the different problems that plague this tiny organ are gallstones, gallbladder cancer, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps, and gallbladder pancreatitis. Among these problems, gallstones are the most common.
Gallstones are hard crystal-like stones which are formed in the gallbladder. It can either be pigment stones (formed when bile combines with calcium salts and other substances) or cholesterol stones (formed when bile forms crystals with cholesterol).
It is believed that gallstones are caused by any one of the following factors.
- Insufficient bile salts, which prevents cholesterol dissolution
- Poor muscle tone may keep the gallbladder from emptying completely
- An increase in bile cholesterol levels
- Concentrated bile
- Other substances in bile resulting in cholesterol crystal formation
Factors like female gender, obesity, rapid weight loss, a poor diet and taking certain medications (birth control pills and cholesterol-lowering drugs) can increase your risk of developing gallstones.
Here are the top foods that can help you prevent gallstone formation naturally.
If your body is deficient in iron, you’ll have an increased risk of gallstones. Start eating foods rich in iron, such as whole grains, kale, spinach, and sea vegetables.
Consumption of dietary fiber-rich foods can help prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the bile which in turn, reduces the chance of gallstone formation. Some of the best sources of dietary fiber are barley, turnips, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, oranges, artichokes, flaxseeds, mangoes, apricots, and grapefruit.
Foods Rich In Healthy Fats
Eating foods rich in healthy fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids) can reduce the level of cholesterol in your body thereby lowering the risk of gallstones. Eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. These foods are rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Olive oil can also supply your body with monounsaturated fats.
Your bladder needs regular detoxification in order to prevent calcium and cholesterol from crystallizing and forming into gallstones. Alkalizing fruits and veggies are your best options for this purpose. These foods can help reduce inflammation and detoxifies both the gallbladder and liver.
Consume more beets, celery, tomatoes, lemons, and apples. Unfiltered raw apple juice is also beneficial as it contains pectin that helps prevent the formation of gallstones and softens existing ones.
Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, is effective at preventing gallstone formation. It boosts bile flow thereby improving digestion of fats and reducing the risk of gallstones. Additionally, turmeric also reduces the body’s cholesterol levels and breaks down elements that might cause the formation of gallstones.
You can simply add turmeric while you are cooking or mix it with water and honey or mix it with warm milk. It is recommended that you consume 1 tsp to 2 tbsp. of turmeric a day.
According to studies, drinking 1-2 cups of coffee a day can help lower the risk of gallstones. A cup of joe is said to have the ability to stimulate bile flow.
Along with the consumption of the foods mentioned above, there are also eating habits that can help you lower your risk of gallstones. This includes following a well-balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and having regular meal intervals.