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These Diet Changes Could Help Your Gallbladder Disease

December 05, 2022

If you’re one of the 25 million Americans who suffer from gallbladder disease, listen up – it may be time to change your diet.

“A diet high in fat can cause the formation of gallstones. Eating fatty meals can also lead to acute episodes of biliary colic, or pain associated with the gallbladder,” says Emilia Genova, MD, a general surgeon with the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in Trumbull.

Dr. Genova shares the best foods for gallbladder health and which ones to avoid.

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Avoid fatty foods

Foods to avoid include those that contain fat, especially saturated fat such as animal fats. Examples include:

  • Poultry skin
  • Fatty meats
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Lard
  • Cheese
  • Whole milk dairy products

“Saturated fatty acids can even be found in some vegetable fats, such as coconut and palm oils,” Dr. Genova says.

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High fiber is key

While diet alone cannot eliminate the risk of stone formation, it can help to minimize the frequency.

A high fiber diet is considered best for people with gallbladder problems,” Dr. Genova says.

Dr. Genova recommends:

“Avocado oil and olive oil are thought to improve the flow of bile and eating regularly decreases the time bile is sitting in the gallbladder,” Dr. Genova says.

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When to see a doctor

Gallbladder pain is typically felt in the right upper quadrant of your stomach or sometimes in the upper mid-abdomen. It can radiate to the back or to the right shoulder area. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

“This pain usually starts after a heavy, fatty or fried meal. The pain can last a few minutes to a few hours,” Dr. Genova says.

Individuals who experience frequent episodes of pain should see their doctor.