What Are the Best Foods To Eat When You Have Gallstones?

What Are the Best Foods To Eat When You Have Gallstones?

Remedies for gallstones

In most cases, small gallstones can pass through the body without any treatment or medication. However, if you’re experiencing pain, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the gallbladder. 

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common surgery for gallstones. Your doctor makes several small incisions to insert a narrow tube and remove the gallbladder. Open cholecystectomy involves larger cuts to the abdomen to remove the gallbladder and may lead to a longer recovery time. 

If your doctor thinks you shouldn’t have surgery—due to a medical condition or otherwise—they may recommend medication instead. Chenodiol and ursodiol can dissolve cholesterol stones. They may need to be taken for months or years to fully dissolve the stones.

Foods to eat for gallstones

While surgery is the most common treatment for gallbladder stones, milder cases may be treated through diet and lifestyle changes. These changes can also reduce the likelihood that the gallstones will return. 

Studies show that people who follow a healthy diet have a lower risk of gallstones or gallbladder disease. Knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid may help resolve symptoms and reduce the risk of gallstones returning. Some of the foods which may help with gallstones include:

Fruits and vegetables

A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help improve the health of your gallbladder. Foods that are high in fiber, Vitamin C, calcium, or B vitamins are essential to a healthy gallbladder. Some fruits and vegetables to incorporate in your diet are: 

  • Citrus fruits
  • Bell peppers
  • Leafy greens 
  • Tomatoes 

Fiber 

Fiber is known for promoting digestive health. It may also help the movement of food through the gut and lower the production of bile, which can reduce the risk of developing gallbladder disease. 

One study found that a high fiber diet led to lower production of biliary sludge for people who are losing weight rapidly. Biliary sludge, which may build up when people fast or lose weight quickly, increases the risk of gallbladder disease. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Low-fat dairy 

Reducing fat can also help prevent gallstones. Low-fat dairy, like milk or cheese, can help reduce the amount of fat in the diet. 

Milk alternatives, including almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk, can also be substituted for whole milk. 

Lean protein

While red meat and dairy are good sources of protein, they can also be high in fat, which puts stress on the gallbladder. 

Low-fat proteins, like poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, and soy products, can offer lean protein without the added fat. One study found a link between vegetable proteins and lower risk of gallbladder disease.