9 Types of Foods That Trigger Gallbladder Attacks

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ beneath the liver that stores bile after it's secreted from the liver, and the gallbladder serves as a reservoir for bile before it's released into the intestine for digestion of fat. Gallbladder problems can include inflammation, and cholelithiasis, or gallstones. Unfortunately, some foods can trigger gallbladder attacks and cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and a loss of appetite. A major risk factor for gallbladder disease is a diet low in fiber and high in cholesterol.

Foods That Trigger Gallbladder Attacks

A healthy, high fiber, low cholesterol diet with special gallbladder foods that prevent gallstones may help people who have gallbladder attacks. Half of the battle of preventing problems related to the gallbladder is deciding what foods that you can eat and those that you need to avoid.

1. Whole-Fat Dairy

Although our bodies need the vitamin D, calcium and proteins found in dairy products, whole-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, cream, nondairy creamers, sour cream, ice cream, chocolate milk, whole milk cheese and cheese spreads are high in saturated fats. The saturated fats may trigger a painful gallbladder attack, or contribute and lead to the formation of gallstones. A better way to get these essential nutrients from dairy products is to choose skim milk, non-fat sour cream, low-fat cottage cheese, yogurt made from skim milk, fat-free cheese and skim buttermilk.

2. Fatty Meat

Foods that trigger gallbladder attacksalso include fatty meats. Products rich in saturated fat and cholesterol include animal products, such as fatty or heavily marbled meat, ground beef, spareribs, duck, goose, ham hocks, and eggs. Processed foods such as tuna and salmon canned in oil, sausage, hot dogs, gravy and peanut butter can also cause or aggravate gallbladder pain. Instead, choose a diet of lean meat, cold water fish, and beans. Remove any excess fat from poultry, lean meat, pork, and lamb. Select tuna and salmon packed in water, and processed meats that are fat-free.

3. Fried Foods

Leading the list of foods that trigger gallbladder attacks are fried foods. Not only are fried foods high in calories, trans fat, and saturated fat, they can also wreak havoc on people whose body has trouble breaking down cholesterol, causing it to crystalize and form painful gallstones. Try to avoid fried foods, such as fried potatoes, doughnuts, and onion rings. Although it may be impossible to limit some oils used for cooking, measure the oil carefully and choose certain oils like coconut oil or butter that is rich in medium chain triglycerides that can be absorbed without the presence of bile.

4. Refined Sugars

Refined sugars are typically found in commercial baked goods, such as cakes, pies, pastries, doughnuts, chocolate, and cookies, which can increase your risk of developing gallstones and gallbladder disease. Refined sugar causes the body to produce more insulin and stores it as fat.You should avoid food productscontaining refined sugar and opt for alternatives, such as sherbet, non-fat frozen yogurt, pudding made with skim milk, sorbet, fruit ice, gelatin, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, and graham crackers to satisfy your craving for sweets.

5. Eggs

Eggs, particularly the egg yolks, top the list of foods that trigger gallbladder attacks because they contain cholesterol and saturated fat. People who are on a gallbladder diet should also avoid foods that contain eggs along with other fats. What triggers gallbladder attacks is eating a meal high in fat, such as eggs, at a time when the gallbladder or bile duct is blocked. When preparing food requiring eggs in the recipe, try using just the egg whites or a low-fat egg substitute.

6. Carbonated Beverages

Becoming or being overweight is a significant risk factor for developing gallstones. In people who are overweight, the liver over-produces cholesterol, which is delivered into the bile, causing it to become supersaturated, and because carbonated beverages are high in both sugar and calories, they should be avoided. Studies suggest that people who drink lots of carbonated beverages or sugary beverages might increase the risk of developing cancer in the gallbladder and the bile ducts around the liver. It's easy enough to drink water for quenching the thirst, and it helps you to stay fit and healthy.

7. Condiments

Since avoiding foods that are high in fat and sugar is paramount for those who have gallbladder problems, they need to make sure they are consuming healthier condiments. To be avoided are ketchup (contains lots of sugar), and mayonnaise (contains eggs). The best way to add some flavor to your food, while keeping calories and fat content in check, is to use lighter dressings, sauces, condiments, and marinades, such as Tahini, sugar free ketchup, yellow mustard, pesto, and salsa. After all, you just want to lose the fat and sugar, not the flavor.

8. Peppers

Spicy foods that trigger gallbladder attacks, such as dishes seasoned with red or black pepper may cause some discomfort for people with gallbladder disease. Certain peppers, especially red hot chili peppers, used to spice up foods often lead to increased gallbladder attacks and intense pain. If you enjoy peppers, choose a milder pepper, such as green or yellow peppers.

9. Highly Acidic Foods

Excessive consumption of highly acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, coffee and tomato sauces can affect the liver and gallbladder. The liver gets burdened with an overabundance of acidic waste, causing the gallbladder to be unable to release bile. This slows down the digestion process and increases acid accumulation in the body.

Foods to Try If You Have Gallbladder Issues

Try some of these organic and locally grown foods from the list below to help prevent and ease the pain of gallbladder attacks. They are delicious raw or lightly steamed, especially the green vegetables.

  • Baby mixed organic greens (avoid too many bitter greens)
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Garlic, onions, shallots
  • Okra
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Vegetable juices
  • Vinegars

Also beneficial are soluble and insoluble fiber found in fruit, such as:

  • Lemons
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Papaya
  • Pears
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