12 foods to avoid if you have gallbladder inflammation

Here we explain what foods you should avoid if you have an inflamed gallbladder. In addition, we tell you why to do it and what happens in the body after inflammation.

Last update: February 28, 2022

Gallbladder-related disorders, such as gallbladder inflammation and stones, affect millions of people around the world. Knowing the foods to avoid if you have gallbladder inflammation will help prevent complications.

The inflammation of the walls of this organ that participates in the process of digesting fats is called cholecystitis. So follow a low-fat diet to prevent the problem from escalating.

In this article we will give you the list of foods that you should avoid if you have an inflamed gallbladder. But first we are going to know its functions and why diet is so important in this context.

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ, whose main function is to concentrate, store and excrete bile that is produced in the liver. It is part of the biliary system, along with the ducts and other associated structures.

When the liver produces bile, 50% is stored in the gallbladder. The other half goes to the duodenum, a portion of the small intestine where fats are broken down for absorption.

Bile is a substance produced by the liver and contains water, hormones, pigments, electrolytes, cholesterol, bile salts between 6 to 10% and lecithin by 95%.

The diet therapy book de Krause explains that bile salts emulsify or decrease the size of fat droplets that reach the duodenum with the diet. This facilitates the work of the enzyme lipase during the digestion process, allowing the absorption of fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.

Once they finish their work, bile salts are reabsorbed and return to the liver. In case the secretion of bile stops, digestion is disturbed and severe pain may occur.

Why is the gallbladder inflamed?

Gallbladder inflammation or cholecystitis can be acute or chronic. 90% of cases of acute inflammation are due to an obstruction of the bile ducts by stones, producing a reflux of bile. Viral infections can also cause acute inflammation.

The chronic form is due to several mild episodes of inflammation that thicken the walls of the gallbladder, making it lose its ability to concentrate and store bile. The presence of tumors or damaged blood vessels are also related to chronicity.

The symptoms of gallbladder inflammation are the following:

  • Constant pain to the right of the abdominal area.
  • Abdominal distension.
  • Frequent nausea and vomiting.
  • Presence of gas and belching.
  • Jaundice or yellow color of the skin and mucous membranes.

Eating high-fat foods increases symptoms of inflammation. Serious complications such as pancreatitis and sepsis can also occur.

Foods to avoid in gallbladder inflammation

The appropriate diet for gallbladder inflammation should be low in fat. So that this restriction does not affect caloric intake, it is recommended to use more complex carbohydrates and medium chain triglycerides.

An article from 2018 refers that some foods have a certain level of influence on the appearance of cholecystitis. Of course, you have to avoid them and this is the list.

1. High-calorie foods

Most caloric foods or so-called junk foodpromote gallbladder disorders. Its high fat values ​​make it difficult to digest. Within these we find fries, cookies, hamburgers and pizzas, among others.

High-fat meals make it difficult for the liver and gallbladder to work.

2. Whole milk and derivatives

High-fat dairy products also contribute to gallbladder disease. It is suggested to avoid whole milk, condensed milk, ice cream, high-fat ripened cheeses (Parmesan, gouda, brie) and butter. As well yogurt made from whole milk should be omitted.

3. Spicy

Foods such as bell peppers, chili peppers, red pepper, Tabasco sauce, cumin and jalapeño pepper, among others, promote inflammation of the gallbladder and exacerbate abdominal pain.

4. Meats and meat products with excess fat

Beef and other red meat contain saturated fat which is more difficult to digest. In addition, its derived products are mixed with a good proportion of fat, increasing its content by more than 30%.

5. Condiments

The use of certain condiments produces acute inflammation and severe gallbladder pain. This group includes oils, pepper, mustard, mayonnaise, and dressings.

6. Trans fat

The Clinical practice guideline for cholecystitis It is recommended to avoid hydrogenated fatty foods. Trans fats such as margarine, vegetable shortening, baked goods, pastries, industrial pastries and fried foods are also prohibited.

7. Raw vegetables

Raw vegetables take longer to digest due to the higher content of insoluble fiber in its raw form. Cooking can partially soften this type of fiber and make it easier to digest.

8. Nuts

Nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and even coconut are prohibited in gallbladder inflammation. According to the Spanish Foundation for Nutrition, these fruits contain more than 50% fat that needs to be emulsified by bile salts.

9. High-fat fish

Fish rich in polyunsaturated fat should be removed from the diet when the gallbladder becomes inflamed. Although it is true that its fat is beneficial for health, the content of omega 3 and omega 6 acids are very high.

Among them are sardines, tuna, mackerel, pomfret, horse mackerel, swordfish, salmon, lebranche and carite, among others.

10. Organ meats

Organ meats such as kidney, liver, heart and brain are part of different dishes and gastronomic cultures. They have the particularity of being rich in fatso in case of cholecystitis you have to avoid them.

11. Alcoholic beverages, coffee and sugary products

Drinking alcoholic beverages, candy, coffee, sodas, carbonated beverages, unmixed citrus juices, and other high-sugar products can make gallbladder pain worse when it’s inflamed. It is necessary to refrain from ingesting these products until the treating doctor authorizes it..

Alcohol is discontinued in patients with liver and biliary disorders, as it accelerates gallbladder problems and complications.

12. Legumes and whole grains

Legumes such as lentils, beans, and chickpeas contain verbascose, raffinose, and stachyose, which cause flatulence and bloating. In the case of whole grains, they contain a lot of bran or cellulose and hemicellulose, which is difficult to digest, which prolongs gastric emptying time.

relieve pain with diet

In case of gallbladder inflammation, these foods should be removed to relieve pain. However, skinless vegetables, egg whites, lean meats, cooked fruits, and pureed preparations are allowed. White rice, refined flour, olive oil, infusions of chamomile, horsetail or ginger also help.

Remember to always consult with a medical specialist and a nutritionist. This way you will follow the correct directions.

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