A Healthy Gall Bladder Diet

Eating a healthy gallbladder diet can have the largest impact on getting well if you have gallbladder disease, gallstones, or even if you’ve had your gallbladder removed. Generally, your new diet will match up with a “regular” healthy one: lots of fruits and vegetables; minimal animal fats such as dairy, meat, and eggs; minimal fried foods; and avoiding “white” and processed foods. In addition, there are certain foods you should eat, certain ones you should avoid, and various supplements that can help with your gallbladder issues.

What are the basics of a diet that are good for my gallbladder?

  • Fresh: The more fresh the food the better.
  • Organic: Foods without chemicals reduce the burden on your liver, and consequently, on your gallbladder.
  • Fiber: Eat as much water soluble fiber as you can – vegetables and fruits. It helps your digestive tract work efficiently. This can include dried fruits in addition to fresh, organic fruits.
  • Dairy: Minimize dairy as much as possible substituting for low fat cottage cheese and low fax milk. Even better switch to soy or rice milk (just make sure it’s not the sugared up kind.)
  • Grains: Make them whole grains. Avoid grains that say they are “enriched.” This is a code word for processed.
  • Meals: Eat smaller meals and eat a few hours before bed.
  • Water: The secret for nearly every diet – drink lots of water
  • Test: Each person is different. Each gall bladder problem and severity is different. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Pay close attention to what works for you. As examples, onions, beans, and oatmeal can all be wonderful for a healthy gallbladder diet (as onions help clean the liver, beans are high in protein without the fat, and oatmeal can help cleanse your blood while giving plenty of energy), but each of these ingredients don’t work for some people’s gallbladders.

Specifically, what are the best foods to eat?

  • Apples: As the saying goes, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” This certainly applies to your gallbladder health. Apples contain malic and tartaric acids which break down cholesterol. As 80% of gallstones are made primarily of cholesterol, apples can soften or help to dissolve gallstones. This is why most liver and gallstone flushes advise eating apples or drinking organic, unfiltered apple juice for days before your flush.
  • Artichokes: The artichoke is wonderful for your gallbladder. It encourages more bile production. This, in turn, can thin down the proportion of cholesterol in your gallbladder which can help dissolve gallstones. Artichokes simultaneously reduce cholesterol production by your liver. While fun to eat the artichoke “meat” from the leaves, it’s often very slow. Artichoke hearts, of course, are much easier to eat. The easiest of all, though, is taking artichoke extract or supplements.
  • Radishes: There are several kinds of radishes in the world. In North America, we often think of the Cherry Belle variety that is red on the outside and white in the inside and is about an inch in diameter; but, there are many other kinds: the Daikon (originally from Japan), the Black Radish (excellent for your gallbladder), and the Red King, to name a few.Like the artichoke, radishes stimulate bile production and help break down fats — both of which are helpful if you have gallstone pain.
  • Turmeric: This spice is often used in curry dishes, giving it a vibrant orangish-yellow color. Curcumin is turmeric’s beneficial component that decreases inflammation, destroys liver cancer cells, and most importantly for the gallbladder, dissolves gallstones. Note that the body can best utilize turmeric when it is consumed along with black pepper.
  • Beets: Beets help thin bile in your gall bladderBeets are so good at improving the health of your gallbladder. They help thin your bile to break down sludge, small gallstones, and to clean out your liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. Beets have a number of beneficial ingredients including soluble fiber, betaine, and high quality iron.
  • Leafy Greens: Mothers around the world hound their children to eat their spinach, and for good reason. The health benefits of leafy greens like spinach go way beyond benefitting just your liver and gallbladder. Other greens such as mustard greens, collard greens, and kale are equally as effective. Greens contain chlorophyll, which helps make the body more alkaline. Foods that are acidic in nature (meat, dairy products, sugar, grains, alcohol), leave an acidic ash in your body that the liver must dispose. Eating greens reduces this residue, lessening the burden on the liver and, consequently, the gallbladder.

Are there helpful supplements for gallbladder problems?

Supplements: Please see our section on supplements. In summary, the following supplements can help you if you have a bad gallbladder:

  • Turmeric:Ginger is great for your gall bladderThis spice is a widely noted spice or supplement that helps with gallbladder and gallstone symptoms. The turmeric spice is often used in curry dishes and mustards, giving it a vibrant orangish-yellow color. Curcumin is the beneficial component in turmeric that decreases inflammation, destroys liver cancer cells, and most importantly for the gallbladder, dissolves gallstones. Your body can best use turmeric when it is eaten along with black pepper. You can also take a daily turmeric supplement. If you have gallstones, it is wise to start very slowly with turmeric and gradually increase the amount you take or eat each day or week.
  • Fish oil: Fish oil is high in Omega-3 fats which are the “good” fats that your body needs. See more about fats below.
  • Flax seed oil: Ground flax seeds or high-quality, organic flax seed oils are one of the best foods for your gallbladder (or if you’ve had yours removed). Squirt flax seed oil on your salads, soups, sandwiches…everything! Like fish oil, flax seed oil is described more in depth lower on this page in our section of types of fats.
  • Ginger: Ginger is known to thin bile, reduce gallbladder sludge, and dissolves gallstones. The main active ingredients in ginger, shogaols and gingerols, help neutralize the acids in your stomach, so ginger is wonderful for nausea or an upset stomach. Slicing ginger and letting it steep in hot water makes a great ginger “tea.”

What foods should I avoid?

Here’s a list of foods to avoid that often trigger gallstone attacks and can lead to gallstones forming:

  • Fats: Many types of fats can cause you pain. Avoid “trans fats” most of all. Check out this Mayo clinic page for more details on the best and worst types of fat.
  • A few vegetables are on the list: onion, cabbage, cauliflower, and corn
  • A few fruits are on the list too: grapefruit and oranges
  • Meat, especially pork and poultry
  • Dairy and eggs: Ice cream, high-fat milk, eggs
  • Drinks: Alcohol, black tea, sodas, coffee

What now?

If this page was helpful, be sure to “like” us on Facebook below or leave us a comment, then check out our awesome gallbladder recipes or take a look at our gallbladder cookbook by clicking the image below. Thank you!

Gallbladder Cookbook


Healthy Gallbladder and Gallstone Diet Tips — 16 Comments

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  2. I had emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder what foods should I avoid or discontinue eating all togather. Also what problems should I be aware of should I encounter digestive problems?

  3. Hi Eric, the main foods you should avoid to trigger further gallbladder problems are fatty foods — deep fried, dairy, fatty meat, etc. Some great foods to eat are virtually any fruit or vegetable. The best for gallbladder issues are artichokes, apples, cucumber, beets, and radishes. If you encounter some digestive problems try making a tea of flaxseeds. (Buy a bag of flax seeds at a health food store. Then just pour some boiling water over a 1/2 spoonful in a cup. Let them steep for 3-5 minutes and sip away.) Please browse our site for many, many more tips. I hope this helps!

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  9. I have been being treated by an asian Dr. for two weeks and altthough I get temporary relief, my symptoms keep coming back. He says that he can cure me. I have a very fatty liver , gallstones, my gallbladder wall is 4cm thick and my biggest gallstone is 11mm.The Dr. does not charge me for anything but the twigs and leaves big white thin ssugar cookie looking things that I boil and drink. Its very hard to have a b.m even though he said the salt will give me the runs. Do you think this sounds like the real deal? Even after symptoms for 2yrs I had to diagnose myself through reserch. My diet chang has been dramatic. is it that or the herbs? Do yyouknow?

  10. Pingback: Healthy Gallbladder Diet | Healthy Diet

  11. Hi Deana, great question. There are so many variables that it’s hard for me to say. How has your diet changed? All in all, I feel like there really shouldn’t be much harm in trying this approach. If it works, please share what helped you. Thanks!

  12. I experienced what I truly think was a gallbladder attack just yesterday, and it was incredibly painful! Prior to this attack, I had just had a bowel movement and afterward I had the feeling that I still needed to go – but couldn’t. That was also a miserable feeling, too.

    I don’t know if anyone else has these painful attacks that begin in the right side of the lumbar spine and all around to the right flank to the stomach. I was in horrible pain and just balled myself up with a pillow in hopes it would pass soon. I almost went to the hospital, which is unusual for me since I generally have a high pain threshold. I took some pain relievers but they did not help much. My husband fixed an ice pack for my back. It finally subsided after about 30-45 minutes, but it did so slowly.

    I am scheduled for surgery to remove my gallbladder in about a week. I am eager to get this thing out of me! Please let me know if anyone else has had this type of attack.


  13. Hi Rebecca,

    Yes, this certainly sounds like a gallbladder attack. I usually recommend some dietary changes as well as conducting some gallbladder flushes (that are detailed on this site)…before having your gallbladder removed. Regardless, I hope you’re pain free soon!

  14. How long can a gallbladder attack last? Day one was pain off and on. Day two a repeat and day 3-5 has been nausea just after waking but no more intense pain but feel like I’m on the verge of pain coming back. I’ve also been running a temperature of 99.4. Tonight I ate a meal that was half the amount of what I would normally consume but I walked away feeling like I had gotten my money’s worth at a Chinese buffet. I felt SO bloated. How long can this potentially go on? And at what point should I see a doctor?

  15. Wow, Sheena. So sorry to hear, but believe me (and everyone else who has commented on this site) – we feel your pain! So, until the gallstone(s) passes or is dissolved, you will likely continue to have the pain. Not sure if you saw my post on apple cider vinegar, but a LOT of people have commented on how much that has helped their gallstone symptoms immediately (http://gallbladderhelp.com/apple-cider-vinegar-acv-gallbladder-gallstones). Chamomile tea also helps immediately. Once you relieve the immediate pain, if you can conduct a gallbladder flush (check out the Hulda Clarke classic flush on this site, too) you can get rid of those gallstones like I did and be pain free. Of course, many people elect to have their gallbladder removed…but often they have complications from that for the rest of their life (which is why I wasn’t willing to take that risk until it was the last resort. Luckily, through changing my diet and conducting gallbladder flushes, I’ve been pain free for over 10 years!)

  16. I have a surgical consult in early February to remove my gall bladder. Gall stones were verified via ultrasound about a week ago. I’m not really a good candidate for surgery as I am morbidly obese, have type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among other things. While all of my medical conditions are under control, pharmaceutically, I’m concerned about whether it will be safe for me to conduct a flush. Just an aside, I’ve been following a vegan diet for about 18 months. Is it possible that the lack of saturated fats and cholesterol in my diet have triggered this?

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