Healing Kitchen

To prevent gallstones, eat a high-fiber, low-fat, low-sugar diet. When snacking, choose fruits and vegetables instead of cookies and crackers. People who regularly consume unhealthy foods that are calorie-dense, low in fiber, or high in fat are more prone to gallstones as well as troublesome problems with existing gallstones.

Likewise, consume a diet rich in fiber, folic acid (folate), omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins B12, C, and E. These nourishing substances reduce the odds of stone formation by protecting against constipation and correcting nutritional deficiencies linked to gallstones.

Maintaining an ideal body weight is also vital for preventing gallstones. Both obesity and a precipitous drop in weight are strongly associated with gallstone production. When dieting, aim for a gradual, one to two pound loss per week to avoid a rapid drop in weight.

Finally, drink plenty of fluids, particularly six to eight glasses of water per day, to maintain adequate water content of the bile. Peppermint tea can be useful for the pain of a gallbladder attack, because peppermint helps relax spasms of the smooth muscle lining, the gallbladder, and bile ducts. In addition, robust plant compounds known as terpenes are plentiful in peppermint and are thought to have a gallstone-dissolving effect.

What You Should Eat & Why

fiber, insoluble
Because individuals with chronic constipation are at an increased risk for gallstone formation, insoluble fiber may help to prevent gallstones by promoting regularity.
Leading Food Sources of fiber, insoluble: Figs, Rice, brown, Peas, fresh, Prunes, Wheat, Beans, dried, Raisins & Currants

fiber, soluble
Soluble fiber, particularly pectin, may be helpful in preventing and dissolving gallstones. Psyllium, an excellent source of soluble fiber, binds to the cholesterol in bile and can help prevent gallstone formation. In addition, psyllium will help prevent constipation, a condition associated with increased gallstone formation.
Leading Food Sources of fiber, soluble: Carrots, Peas, fresh, Beans, dried, Oats, Barley, Apples

folic acid
Considered a lipotropic factor, folic acid is believed to accelerate the removal of fat from the liver by influencing the metabolism of fat.
Leading Food Sources of folic acid: Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Avocados, Bok choy, Chick-peas, Soybeans, Lentils, Oranges, Peas, fresh, Turkey, Cabbage, Savoy, Spinach, Beans, dried, Brussels sprouts

omega-3 fatty acids
Try to eat oily fish at least once a week. Animal studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can have a protective effect against the development of gallstones.
Leading Food Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, Trout, Tuna

vitamin B12
Similar to folic acid, vitamin B12 is a lipotropic factor that reduces the risk of gallstones by affecting lipid metabolism and accelerating fat removal from the liver.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin B12: Beef, Clams, Trout, Crab, Oysters, Tuna, Lamb, Yogurt

vitamin C
Deficiencies of this potent antioxidant vitamin have been linked to gallstone formation in animals. Vitamin C appears to lower the amount of cholesterol in bile, making secretions from the liver less likely to clump together and form stones.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin C: Cabbage, red, Oranges, Tangerines & other mandarins, Peppers, bell, red, Kiwi fruit, Potatoes, Strawberries

vitamin E
Like vitamin C, inadequate circulating levels of vitamin E have been linked to the development of gallstones. This important vitamin reduces the likelihood of stone formation by lowering levels of cholesterol in bile.
Leading Food Sources of vitamin E: Broccoli, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Almonds, Mangoes, Avocados

Date Published: 05/03/2005
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