WHAT FOODS ARE CHOLERETIC?
People only think about the health of the gallbladder once problems begin with it. At the same time, gallbladder diseases are common and can sometimes threaten human life. It is very important to regularly check the condition of this organ and know which foods have a choleretic effect of composing your diet properly.
The gallbladder stores bile made by the liver, which is used to help digest food. When food enters the body, the gallbladder contracts and throws out 40–60 ml of its contents, which is necessary to digest and assimilate the food eaten. Daily produced from 1 to 1.8 liters of bile. Bile comprises water, cholesterol, lecithin, other fats, bile acids, bilirubin, waste products, and proteins. If the concentration of cholesterol or bilirubin in bile becomes too high compared to bile acids, they precipitate, harden, and form stones that vary in size and quantity.
Stones can cause blockage of the bile duct, causing pain. There are several types of stones:
- Cholesterol stones are the most common type (80% of all cases). They are made of hardened cholesterol and are yellow-green.
- Pigment stones are formed from calcium bilirubinate (a component of bilirubin) and appear black or brown.
- Mixed stones – Some people have both types of stones in their gallbladder.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, women between 20 and 60 are three times more likely to develop gallstones than men.
CAUSES OF GALLBLADDER DISEASE
Researchers have found that obese people may have higher cholesterol levels in their bile. Accordingly, body weight is one of the main risk factors for the appearance of gallstones. Especially at risk are people with abdominal obesity.
The main causes of gallbladder disease:
- genetic predisposition;
- hormonal disorders, including during pregnancy;
- hydrodynamic of the gallbladder (congenital pathology);
- infections that cause inflammation;
- weak immunity;
- intestinal parasites;
- food allergy.
An unhealthy lifestyle also contributes to the development of cholelithiasis:
- severe stress;
- insufficient physical activity;
- fatty, spicy, fried foods;
- Rigid diets and fasting – can cause the liver to release more cholesterol into bile, disrupting the normal balance of cholesterol and bile salts;
If the disease is started, it can lead to serious consequences, including liver, pancreas, and even oncology damage.
SYMPTOMS OF GALLBLADDER DISEASE
The most common symptoms of gallbladder dysfunction are:
- indigestion, especially after eating rich fatty foods or dairy products;
- bloating after eating;
- reflux or heartburn;
- diarrhea after certain foods;
- stomach cramps or other pain after eating;
- discomfort behind the right shoulder blade or in the upper part of the right shoulder;
- increased irritability;
- low tolerance to alcohol;
- sweaty feet or excessive sweating in general;
- bad breath and coated tongue;
- fatigue after eating.
NUTRITION TIPS FOR GALLBLADDER PROBLEMS
- The gallbladder releases bile every time you eat, and when you skip meals, those bile juices accumulate. Therefore, during the day, there should be 5-6 meals.
- It is necessary to exclude products that cause inflammation of the mucous membrane of the digestive organs: fried, spicy, fatty, sour, pickled, salty, and smoked.
- Avoid foods that cause gas.
- Do not eat too hot or cold food, which causes gallbladder spasms. The temperature of cooked dishes should be approximately 40 degrees.
- Try to drink more water throughout the day.
PRODUCTS THAT IMPROVE THE FUNCTIONING OF THE GALLBLADDER
Eating a diet with enough protein and fiber is very important while avoiding saturated fats and “bad” cholesterol. To maintain the health of the gallbladder, you need to know which products have a choleretic effect.
Include choleretic foods in your diet:
Whole grain bread, durum wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, oatmeal, barley, and bulgur are high in fiber, which lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Fiber improves the functioning of the digestive system and removes bile from the body.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits, vegetables, and greens are rich in vitamins, water, and fiber, which help you stay fuller longer and shed those extra pounds.
Be sure to include beets and beet leaves, fresh herbs (mint, parsley, dill, cilantro, arugula), broccoli, white and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin A improves the functioning of the gallbladder. There is much of it in pumpkins, bell pepper, and carrots.
Foods High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps to regulate the level of “bad” cholesterol in the body. With a lack of vitamin C, bile’s cholesterol level increases. Women should get 75 mg of vitamin C daily, and men should get 90. Vitamin C is abundant in strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, kiwi, melon, baked potatoes, and citrus fruits.
The main choleretic products for bile stasis include olive oil – an excellent source of omega-3 unsaturated fats. Use it instead of butter. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in avocados. These foods are high in vitamin E, which also prevents the formation of stones.
Numerous studies, including a 2022 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that people who ate a diet high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats had a reduced risk of developing gallstones.
Lean meat, poultry, and fish
In chronic inflammation of the gallbladder, animal protein is necessary. But meat and fish should be lean, and poultry should be skinned in order not to increase cholesterol levels.
Low-fat dairy products
Low-fat kefir, cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk are useful for chronic cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation). Be sure to include acidophilus in your diet, as it contains a lot of beneficial lactic acid bacteria.
Eggs are among the foods with a choleretic effect. They enhance the gallbladder’s motor function and promote bile excretion. But if there are unpleasant sensations (bitterness in the mouth, soreness) during their use, then it is better to eat only protein. Protein is necessary for gallstone disease, but the yolk contains a lot of cholesterol.
Nuts are rich in fiber and healthy fats. They are also high in plant sterols, compounds that prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol. Be sure to include walnuts, almonds, peanuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds in your diet. Remember that nuts are high in calories, so limit yourself to a handful daily.
Ginger, cinnamon, and coriander also contribute to the outflow of bile. But with liver diseases, ginger is contraindicated. Turmeric supports liver function, while high doses of turmeric can thin the blood. Caution should be exercised if you are taking appropriate medications.
Drinks that have a choleretic effect
In addition to knowing which foods are choleretic, you need to pay attention to drinks.
Pure natural water promotes the excretion of bile and prevents its accumulation in the gallbladder, thus protecting against stones and other problems. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps you lose weight. To reduce the concentration of bile, it is recommended to drink at least 35 ml/kg of body weight. Mineral water increases the amount of bile produced and makes it less dense. It is recommended to drink mineral water in courses prescribed by a doctor.
Caffeine stimulates the contraction of the gallbladder, activating the secretion of bile. But be careful – drink coffee only if you are sure there are no gallbladder gallstones. If they are already available, it is better to refuse this drink. In chronic cholecystitis, it should be completely excluded. You can sometimes afford weak coffee with milk and only after a meal.
Grape, beetroot, cabbage, and rutabaga juices stimulate the gastric secretion and have a choleretic effect. Carrot, cucumber, rare, and turnip juices increase bile production by 2-3 times.
Drinks prepared with honey stimulate the secretion of bile and promote its excretion.
A doctor or a qualified herbalist can only prescribe herbal prophylaxis and their dosageYou can drink such decoctions only if there are no stones.
For the treatment of diseases of the gallbladder, the following plants are used:
- Milk thistle – cleanses the liver and gallbladder ducts.
- Green tea – has a strong antioxidant effect and reduces “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein).
- Artichoke spherical – supports the work of the gallbladder and liver. Due to its ability to increase alkali production, the artichoke can provoke blockage of the bile ducts. Therefore, it should be taken with caution.
- Chicory – a decoction of this plant stimulates the outflow of bile. You can buy ready-made chicory for making a drink.
- Decoctions of wild rose, lemon balm, mint, yarrow, chamomile, immortelle, and calendula – eliminate stagnation of bile.
WHAT FOODS SHOULD BE AVOIDED IN DISEASES OF THE GALLBLADDER
- From any fried foods. The gallbladder has to work hard to help the stomach digest fried foods high in saturated fats that raise cholesterol levels.
- If there are problems with the gallbladder, pork, duck, and goose should be completely excluded from the diet.
- Fatty dairy products (cheese, ice cream, butter) must also be abandoned. They increase the “bad” cholesterol level and the likelihood of gallstones.
- Mushrooms should be excluded, as this is a heavy product for the digestive system.
- Beans, peas, and rye bread contain coarse fiber, are difficult to digest, and increase gas formation.
- Garlic, radish, and radish mustard irritate the gastrointestinal mucosa and can worsen the condition.
- Spices and spices are dangerous, as they stimulate the digestive tract and can cause an imbalance between the secretion and consumption of bile.
- Pastries and fatty confectionery worsen the composition of bile and make it difficult to excrete.
- Alcohol and carbonated drinks are excluded for problems with the gallbladder.
REHABILITATION AFTER CHOLECYSTECTOMY
It is not always possible to cure gallbladder diseases with the help of drugs and proper nutrition. Sometimes surgery is required – laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). The duration of the rehabilitation period for each patient is individual. Recovery depends on the state of the body, health indicators, the rate of tissue regeneration, age, etc.
A couple of days after the laparoscopy, the patient stays in the hospital under the strict supervision of doctors. As a rule, any unpleasant symptoms are not observed in patients. If there is pain, they are easily stopped by painkillers. Usually, after a week, the patient feels well.
After the operation, for about four months, you must follow the diet prescribed by the gastroenterologist. As a rule, this is table number 5 (the link to the diet was in one of the articles).
For the rest of your life, it is advisable to adhere to the same nutritional recommendations as for problems with the gallbladder (described above).
In addition to all the above restrictions, after the operation, egg yolks, coffee, and alcohol should be completely excluded from the diet.
Serious physical activity is contraindicated within three months after cholecystectomy, and weights of more than 3 kg should not be lifted. At the same time, moderate physical activity, on the contrary, accelerates regeneration processes and improves metabolic processes.
During this period, the restructuring of the entire digestive tract begins – the body learns to live without a gallbladder, compensating for its absence. The adaptation process takes about six months. The liver takes over the function of the remote organ. It secretes bile, which enters the duodenum through the bile ducts. Over time, the secret begins to be produced in doses as needed.
Unfortunately, patients often learn about gallbladder disease when avoiding surgery is no longer possible. However, at the initial stage, it would be possible to cope with the problem with medication. To timely identify the disease, visiting a gastroenterologist and checking the digestive system regularly is necessary.