Three Ways to Keep Your Gallbladder in Good Health
Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that stores and releases bile, the fluid your liver produces to help digest the fats you consume. Besides that, how much more do you know about your gallbladder and the importance of keeping it in good health?
September 24 is Gallbladder Good Health Day – a day to spread awareness and information on the benefits of maintaining good gallbladder health. When you don’t take care of your gallbladder, you risk developing problems such as gallstones, cholecystitis, functional gallbladder disorder, cholangiopathy, and gallbladder cancer. Gallbladder disease can further cause complications in your liver, pancreas, and bile ducts, causing cholangitis, cirrhosis, and pancreatitis.
Here are ways to keep your gallbladder healthy:
Maintain a healthy weight
Having obesity or being overweight means, you likely have higher levels of cholesterol in your bile and, therefore, are more likely to develop gallstones.
The Centers for Disease and Prevention recommend observing your body mass index (BMI) to determine whether you are within a healthy weight range. A BMI of between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered the normal or “healthy” weight range. Anything higher than that places you in the overweight or obese range.
Eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet
A low-cholesterol, low-fat diet not only helps you maintain a healthy, normal weight but it also helps reduce your risk for gallstones. Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol or bilirubin in your bile, and your gallbladder doesn’t empty all the way. Some high-cholesterol foods to avoid or limit include full-fat dairy, red meat, processed meat, and fried foods.
Fried foods are typically high in saturated fat, which increases cholesterol levels in your blood. Also, you strain your gallbladder when you eat fatty fried food because it needs to work harder to digest them. While red meat is a good source of protein, it is also high in fat. For protein, opt for leaner options such as nuts and seeds, poultry, fish, soy and soy products, and legumes. Some dairy alternatives include soy milk, oat milk, and almond milk.
Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and magnesium, which may help prevent gallbladder disease. They also contain phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. Some fruits and vegetables that are highest in vitamin C that you should consider including in your diet include colorful citrus fruits such as strawberries, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and broccoli. Avocados, spinach, bananas, and edamame are rich in magnesium while asparagus and black-eyed peas are good sources of folate.
Fruits and veggies also are excellent sources of dietary fiber, which help prevent digestive problems. Fruits and vegetables are low in salt, sugar, and saturated fat and will not put stress on the gallbladder. They’re low-calorie and low-fat, which means we can eat them without worrying about cholesterol build-up that can cause gallstone formation.
Learn more about ways to keep your gallbladder in good health. Contact Gastro MD. We are a cutting-edge clinical gastroenterology practice that sets the standard in digestive health care.