In the United States alone is estimated that perhaps as many as 20 million people are suffering from gallstones at any given moment. While some people have an all out attack which requires surgery in many cases, other people, even though they have gallstones, never experience any symptoms whatsoever. Whether you are a silent sufferer or a person who is extremely aware of a gallbladder problem there are foods you shouldn’t eat with gallstones. Some of these foods can be resumed in a normal diet once the gallstones are removed or dissolved but other foods should never be eaten even at the best of times.
What Causes Gallstones
In order to understand what causes gallstones, it is first necessary to understand what the gallbladder is and how it works in conjunction with the digestive system. First of all, a gallstone is a hard deposit that forms in the gallbladder usually as a result of a high cholesterol diet, but other factors are involved as well. We know that the liver produces bile to be stored in the gallbladder so that when foods are eaten small amounts of this bile are squeezed into the cystic duct and from there to the small intestines. When breaking down fats, usually saturated fats, bile can cause the formation of a gallstone which will then get into the cystic duct and get lodged there. This is what causes pain and is what we refer to as a gallstone attack.
Foods That Cause the Formation of Gallstones
Since we know that foods high in fats, particularly those high in cholesterol, any foods which contain high amounts of cholesterol should be avoided at all costs. This is true not only for people who like the history of gallbladder problems but also for anyone wishing to eat a diet that is heart healthy and known to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Here is a partial list of foods you shouldn’t eat with gallstones, and of course if you want to reduce your risk of getting gallstones in the first place. Some foods to avoid would include:
- Deep-fried foods
- Red meat
- Saturated fats
- Most citrus fruit
- Hydrogenated oils
Again, this is just a partial list of foods you shouldn’t eat with gallstones or if you wish to avoid them. There are a number of other foods which can cause a problem but the above are the biggest culprits.
Some Foods Which May Be Problematic
There is a secondary list of foods which can cause problems in some people or exacerbate the situation should you already have a gallstone problem. Unfortunately for those people who like their kick of caffeine in the morning, black tea is also on this list. While this may not pose a problem if you do not have gallstones, if they are a present, then you should avoid both coffee and black tea. Also on this list are refined flours and bleached foods and many grains such as wheat, oats, rye and barley. Then to compound the problem you are further asked to avoid artificial sweeteners, most preservatives and of course you shouldn’t smoke (although that’s not a food it is something to avoid as well). Many people also add rice, at least bleached white rice, to the list of foods which can potentially cause a problem with gallstones.
By the time you have omitted all of those foods and beverages from your diet you are probably wondering if there is anything which you can eat when suffering from gallstones. Actually, they say it is safe to eat pasta, potatoes, cereals and some types of bread, but again, you would need to be careful because some grains are harmful. Other foods which don’t seem to cause a problem would include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cold water fish, berries, garlic, okra, avocados, grapes, pears, papaya and omega-3 oils. In fact, omega-3 oils are actually very good for you and can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke while also breaking down cholesterol so that it isn’t as likely to form gallstones. The best way to understand foods you shouldn’t eat with gallstones is to simply learn how to eat a healthy diet which you should be doing in the first place. Even then, once your gallstone problem has been corrected some of the above foods are safe to eat in moderation.