Luckily, gallbladder removal, or a cholecystectomy, is much faster and easier than it used to be. Laproscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure where the gallbladder is removed in a couple of hours and your stay in the hospital can be less than a day.
After this procedure, what should you eat? It will take some time for your body to adjust to not being able to store bile – which is used to break down fats. So, the less fat you consume the better. You’ll also want foods to move through your body easily, so a hearty dose of daily fiber is optimal as well. Finally, you’ll want to minimize the load on your liver.
Generally, the diet you should follow after gallbladder surgery is the same diet that people should eat to obtain optimal gallbladder health and to get rid of gallstones. (Read more about healthy gallbladder diets, here for healthy gallbladder foods, or here for foods to avoid.)
That said, there are some additional diet changes that you can make specifically for after your gallbladder surgery:
- Help your body break down fats: Acids like vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice can help emulsify any fats that you eat. Try putting a spoonful on vegetables and salads!
- Eat only the best oils and fats: While your body will have a more difficult time digesting fats, you will still need some. Hemp seed and flax seed oils are both rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and are “good fats” to be used on food directly, not as cooking oils. For light cooking, use olive oil.
- Fiber, vitamins, and minerals: Eat your veggies (and fruits). They supply high doses of fiber to keep things moving through your digestive tract, and vitamins and minerals so that your body can heal up quickly after surgery.
- Water: As with all diets, drink plenty of water.
A month after surgery you can start eating:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat meats such as fish and de-skinned poultry
- Low-fat dairy: low-fat milk, mozzarella cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, yogurt
In addition to changing what you eat, it’s wise to change how you eat after surgery:
- Smaller, more frequent meals: As your body adjusts to breaking down food, it will be a lot easier for your body to digest smaller, more frequent meals than the traditional three meals a day. Change to five or six smaller meals throughout the day.
- Regularity: Set up a schedule of regularly spaced meals and do not skip meals.
- Appreciate: Enjoy and appreciate the food you eat. This potential shift in focus to appreciation gives you the “power of positive thought” surrounding your health and the food you put into your body.