Over half a million gallbladders are removed annually in the U.S. Gallbladder disease is a serious condition. If you suspect that you are having a gallbladder attack and are in severe gallbladder pain, especially if you also have a fever, consult your doctor immediately or go straight to the emergency room. This post may serve to help you know the symptoms in advance and take precautions so a gallbladder attack might be avoided.
Remember no one, neither an MD nor a holistic practitioner, ever cures us of anything. Natural therapies simply provide the building blocks to help the body heal itself. Western medicine is great for emergencies, however, it falls short when it comes to chronic disease as it does not offer a forensic look at what led to the disease state in the first place, such as improper diet and nutritional deficiencies, unhealthy choices, such as smoking and abuse of pharmaceutical drugs and a stressful lifestyle.
What we find in western medicine is a one size fits all model and its goal is to make symptoms go away. This is kind of like pulling the fuse when the engine warning light goes off. We donít really want to just make symptoms go away, we want to get to the root or underlying cause of our “dis-ease” state.
With gallbladder disease, both western medicine and holistic alternatives can come together and provide the tools for actual healing. If a gallbladder removal surgery can be avoided by making some changes, for example in your diet, wouldnít that be the best possible outcome? Or what if symptoms persist after gallbladder removal, which often happens? This is a clear sign that the underlying cause of problem has not been resolved.
The diagnostic tool of choice for gallbladder disease is usually an ultrasound scan. Ask your doctor for a copy of the scan results so you can get a second opinion. Explain to your doctor that you wish to use nutrition and nutritional supplementation as adjunct therapy and would like your progress monitored carefully. He or she might welcome learning about this. One of my own MDs was so impressed with Oriental Medicine and acupuncture that he took two years off from his own practice to become trained in it and now incorporates it into his practice. His entire paradigm shifted as a result of this exploration.
With your medical diagnosis in hand and blessing from your doctor, the first and perhaps most important rule to follow from now on is to eat a variety of fresh organic, raw and lightly steamed green vegetables, good fats (like avocados) and exclude sugars, and all processed and refined foods. It was most likely food choices that caused the gallbladder dis-ease in the first place.
Foods to avoid for general gallbladder disease:
- Eggs (Research showed that eggs have caused symptoms in up to 95 percent of patients. We donít know if the eggs used in this research were factory-farmed or the better choice of free range and organic, but this is always the problem with clinical trials and tests. Here are some egg alternatives to try instead.)
- Fowl (turkey, chicken and again we assume the culprits are factory farmed, but again let’s err on the side of caution and avoid these foods for now)
- Dairy (pasteurized) milk, cheese and cream. (I personally have found raw dairy to not be a problem, but again we are all different and have different philosophies, so proceed with caution)
- Gluten and grains in general such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, etc.
- Coffee, regular or decaf
- Oranges, grapefruit
- Trans fats, Hydrogenated, partially-hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils
- Fried Foods
- Saturated fats (itís best to even avoid my favorite fat for just about everything, coconut oil until feeling better)
- Red meats
- Spicy foods
- Ice cream
- Black tea
- Alcohol, beer, wine, liqueur
- Fruit juice
- Carbonated water
- Tap water
- Cabbage, cauliflower
- Colas and all sodas
- Oats (for some people)
- Avoid all artificial sweeteners, sugar, preservatives, refined and bleached foods (like white flour)
- Avoid smoking as it can exacerbate the symptoms
- Avoid all possible food allergens
Are there foods good for our gallbladder? GallbladderAttack.com tell us that these dietary suggestions are not the food bible because we are all so different. You can try the foods on the next list, one a time, to determine what you can tolerate. Then take a look at the list above and experiment cautiously with what you may be able to introduce again without having a relapse.
Foods to try if you have†gallbladder disease:
Organic and locally grown foods from the list below are wonderful raw or lightly steamed, especially the green vegetables. Donít forget, we must include good fats (like avocados) too.
- Green beans – not the same as dried beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Vinegars – all types
- Garlic and onions help with liver cleansing but not processed types like flakes or powder. But some people have trouble digesting them so pay attention to what your own body tells you!
- Cold water fish – salmon, trout
- Lemons (lemon juice in the morning with hot water helps to clean the liver)
- Grapes and fresh organic grape juice
- Apples, berries, papaya, pears
- Oils like flax or hemp should be used for salad dressing with fresh lemon juice or vinegar.
- Vegetable juices – beet and cucumber are especially helpful to gallbladder. You can add other green vegetables like swiss chard, dandelion greens, beet greens, celery, carrots, (avoid the cabbage family)
- Use baby mixed organic greens for salads just avoid the bitter greens for now.
- Soluble and insoluble fiber found in fruits, vegetables and guar gum are also beneficial.
When gallbladder disease is suspected or has been confirmed, again it is critical to avoid fried foods, fatty foods and particular types of fats like trans fats, hydrogenated fats, partially-hydrogenated fats (read your labels) and saturated fats.
If you have gallbladder disease and have made diet changes that have helped or hurt your symptoms, please share your experiences below.