What is the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a tiny, pear shaped organ that sits just beneath your liver. The liver produces bile. The gallbladder then stores bile, which helps to dissolve the food in your small intestine once it’s been through your stomach. The gallbladder is actually responsible for helping your digest fats: the good (Omegas, and the other fats your body needs) and the bad kind (those refined fats in fast food). While it can release bile whenever it senses your body has eaten something, but it also releases it if it senses that your body has eaten a fatty meal.
Sometimes the bile sits inside the gallbladder for too long. If this occurs, the bile becomes concentrated. Bile is primarily made up of salt, fats (including cholesterol), water and something called bilirubin (a breakdown of haemoglobin).
Sometimes the liver puts too much cholesterol in the bile. This, when the bile concentrates, hardens and forms stones. Other causes are obesity, family history, even estrogen has been linked to gallstones.
Gallbladder stones don’t always cause pain, in fact about 20% of people develop gallstones over their lifetime, but this rarely causes pain. Gallbladder pain stems from the gallstones moving in the gallbladder, effectively blocking bile from leaving the gallbladder. It is this movement that causes pain.
The symptoms of gallstones are various and sometimes surprising.
The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the stomach
- Pain in the upper right tummy, under your ribs
Other symptoms include:
- Dark urine
- Light colored stool
- Fever and Chills
So how can you prevent gallstones?
Maintaining a healthy body weight is pretty obvious here. But what else can you do? There are five foods that make our list:
We’re talking salami, bacon, and sausage. These are high in bad fats, and should be avoided. They can contribute to a higher cholesterol. Try reduced sodium bacon, making your own sausages – use ground turkey with seasoning over fatty ground beef or pork.
Deep Fried Food
No crispy chicken. No doughnuts. To replace these delicious treats, baking the doughnuts (there are loads of awesome recipes out there!). Use oat flour to give a crispy coating to meats and bake them over frying them.
This is not where I tell you to drink low-fat milk. Just reduce your consumption of whole, raw milk. You can also use coconut milk or almond milk instead if you’re already having trouble with your gallbladder.
High Acidic Foods
Too much coffee, tomatoes, or citrus fruits can have a negative impact on your gallbladder. Cut back on your consumption. Try balancing your acidic foods with an alkalizing diet to keep everything in balance!
Here is where lies our real culprits. Highly rich foods, like ice cream, fudge, white bread, potato chips… anything made from refined flour. To replace ice cream, use Greek yogurt. Make your own homemade potato chips with bad cholesterol fighting seasoning. To replace fudge try making a vegan alternative using figs or dates.
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