The gall bladder’s function is to store the bile produced by the liver, which is important in the digestion and absorption of fats. Gall bladder disease impairs the proper digestion of food, hence those afflicted with it are advised to eat right and maintain the proper diet for their condition. However, “eating right” is just not as simple as eating your veggies and avoiding junk food anymore. Depending on the state of your health, sometimes foods normally considered as healthy may actually be bad for you.
The most obvious to avoid are of course fried foods, margarine, eggs, pork, fowl, red meats, alcoholic drinks, sodas, coffee, and foods with saturated fats, sugar, preservatives and artificial sweeteners. But then, this list of restricted foods also includes vegetables like beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, processed onions, radishes, turnips, and even nuts, as well as fruits such as oranges and grapefruits (even fruit juices). You are also to avoid oats, wheat, white flour and dairy products. And of course, you’ll also have to give up pleasures such as chocolates and ice cream.
With a long list of forbidden foods that seems to include every known food group, people suffering from gall bladder disease must feel like they are condemned to starvation. Fortunately, the list of foods they can eat is just as long, and even includes some unlikely items.
For instance, while saturated and hydrogenated fats must be avoided, not all fats are bad for you (that is, as long as you are not dangerously prone to gall bladder attack). In fact fat-free and low-fat diets are as much responsible for gall bladder problems as consuming too much fat. The “good” kind of fat can be found in Omega 3 oils like flax and hemp, which prevent build-up of cholesterol in the bile. These, as well as olive oils, make good salad dressings when used with vinegar and fresh lemon juice.
Speaking of salads, among the vegetables that those with gall bladder problems can eat are beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, green beans, okra, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Garlic and onions, helpful in cleaning the liver, should not be processed (powdered, for example), as some gall bladder sufferers may have trouble digesting them. Cooking food with spices, ginger and turmeric are good for the digestion.
As for fruits, it is still true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is also true with apricots, artichokes, avocados, berries, coconuts, figs, grapes, guavas, lemons, melons, papayas, pears, and prunes. All other fruit juices must be avoided except for apple, grape and lemon, preferably self-juiced. Lemon juice in particular cleanses the liver when taken in the morning with hot water. And of course, for both fruits and vegetables, it is important that they be fresh.
Since gall bladder disease prevents the normal digestion of fat, it is essential to have a lot of fiber in your diet. This includes starchy foods such as rice, cereals, and whole grain bread.
As important as the kind of food one eats is the amount of what he eats. Avoid overeating; eat smaller meals at the daytime, avoid large meals at night. The day’s last meal must be eaten several hours before bedtime.
We all need to watch what we eat, but those with gall bladder disease must do so more than the average person. It is important to keep in mind the right kind of food as well as the right quantity and the right time to eat in order to continue to live comfortably through their condition.