If you’ve come here looking for information, there’s a chance you’re in pain right now. Thus, I’m not going to bombard with everything about Gallstones.
What you’re after is advice which may prevent this pain ever returning, right?
We’ll get to that in just a moment.
If your gallbladder becomes inflamed, causing upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever symptoms, then you may need to go on a gallstones diet.
While these episodes are usually brief, they typically follow a fatty meal, which causes the gall bladder to contract.
So, what are gallstones?
Gallstones are made from cholesterol, bile pigments, calcium, or a mixture of these.
They are normally caused when the chemical balance of your bile contains too much cholesterol. This causes bile to form into small particles which may grow into gallstones.
Causes of gallstones
While we’re not fully sure why some people get gallstones, they tend to be most common in:
- Older age
- Overweight people over 40 years of age
- Women in general, and women who have been pregnant
- Women taking oral contraceptives, or undergoing high-dose oestrogen therapy
- People of Asian, or European origin, and native Americans
- People who have recently lost weight – particularly if weight loss was very rapid
- Diet factors: high fat, high cholesterol diet, or high intake of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and cakes
Treatment for gallstones is required only if they cause inflammation of your gallbladder, block your bile ducts, or move from your bile ducts into your intestines.
3 tips to stop you needing a gallstones diet
#1 Eat a well balanced diet
Research shows that eating regular meals, containing small amounts of fat can help prevent gallstones.
Choose a healthy, balanced diet:
- Low in saturated fat (a fat free diet is not necessary)
- Don’t eat foods high in cholesterol too frequently – these include liver, kidneys, eggs and prawns
- Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions per day)
- Have regular servings of calcium rich foods (green leafy veg, low fat milk and dairy products)
- Plenty of high fibre breads, cereals, pasta, rice etc, and moderate amounts of potatoes
- Consume fat sources high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, rather than saturated and trans fats
- Avoid eating too many cakes, biscuits and other sweet confectionery on a regular basis
- Use healthier cooking methods, such as grilling, boiling, baking, poaching or casseroling
- Remove visible fat from meats prior to cooking, and opt for leaner cuts of meat where possible
#2 Maintain a healthy weight
If you are overweight this also increases the amount of cholesterol in your bile, and your chances of developing gallstones. Therefore try to stay as close to a healthy weight as possible.
Control your weight by eating a healthy diet, and taking plenty of regular exercise.
If you need to lose weight, do so slowly by aiming for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week. Rapid weight loss (greater than 2 pounds per week) may increase your chances of gallstone formation and having to go on a gallstones diet.
#3 Exercise regularly
Increased levels of physical exercise may also help to reduce your risk of forming gallstones.
You should aim for at least 2 to 3 hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week.
Do you have any further questions about going on a gallstones diet? Or, would you like to add something to the discussion? I’d love to hear from you!