The gallbladder is a small organ in your digestive system that holds bile. When you eat, this bile is secreted, helping to digest your food. If your gallbladder is not functioning properly due to gallstones or gallbladder disease, eating certain foods that require more bile to be digested can result in pain and negative health effects.
Fried or Greasy Foods
Foods that are high in fat require more bile to be digested properly, thus forcing your gallbladder to work harder to secrete additional bile. Therefore, avoid greasy or fried foods such as french fries, hamburgers and fried chicken. Many varieties of doughnuts are also fried, and should be avoided. Choose foods that are baked, grilled, roasted or steamed instead of fried.
Avoid meats with very high fat content, such as ham or heavily marbled steak or pork. Instead, choose lean cuts of beef and pork; sirloin and tenderloin cuts usually have the least fat. To lower the fat content of poultry, choose white meat, and remove the skin before cooking. Bacon and sausage are both extremely high in fat. Try replacing your regular varieties with turkey, which provides a similar flavour with far less fat.
Many dairy products have a high fat content. Try replacing whole-fat varieties with low-fat or fat-free versions to avoid gallbladder pain. Choose skimmed milk instead of whole. Look for reduced fat or fat-free cheese. Whole-fat versions of sour cream, cream cheese and cottage cheese should also be avoided. Replace the half-and-half in your morning coffee with skimmed milk or a low-fat non-dairy creamer.
Skins and seeds
Bile is necessary to the proper digestion of the skins on certain fruits and vegetables. Remove the skins from potatoes before cooking them. Also peel apples and pears before consuming.
Seeds should also be avoided. Refrain from eating berries with seeds, such as raspberries and strawberries. Do not eat sunflower seeds, and avoid breads or muffins containing sunflower or poppy seeds, as this may cause additional digestive discomfort.
Highly processed foods not only hold little nutritional value, but are often high in calories as well. They are also laden with preservatives and other potentially harmful substances, and may put a strain on your gallbladder. Avoid foods like packaged cakes, cookies and crackers. Choose fresh, natural foods whenever possible.