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Practical Tips for Keeping Your Gallbladder Healthy

Most of us never give a second thought to our gallbladders until we start to have digestion problems. The gallbladder is the organ that stores bile, which helps your body break down and digest fats. Think of it as a storage space for bile that is produced by the liver but that isn’t currently being used.

The most common medical condition involving the gallbladder is gallstones, which are made up of hardened bile and cholesterol. They can cause severe pain and prevent the gallbladder from releasing the bile it’s holding. Other rarer conditions that involve gallbladder problems include bowel obstructions, pancreatitis, cancer, abscesses, and gangrene.

Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed these days because this organ isn’t absolutely essential for human survival. However, it is definitely a beneficial organ to have, and you should do everything possible to keep it functioning well. Your diet and lifestyle have a lot to do with how well your gallbladder performs, so here are some tips for keeping it healthy!

Eat Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber is what keeps the digestive system moving along as it should, so make sure to get enough of it on a daily basis. Get most of your fiber from fruits and vegetables though, not grains. Some great natural foods that are packed with fiber include broccoli, oranges, apples, avocados, beets, and berries.

Eat Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to prevent cholesterol from forming in bile. Since hardened cholesterol contributes to the formation of gallstones, it’s a wise idea to eat omega-3-rich foods if you are prone to this condition. Cold water fish, fish oil, hemp seeds, and flax seed oil are excellent sources of omega-3s.

Photo credit: Ján Sokoly via Flickr

Reduce Stress

A stressful lifestyle can also be a burden to your digestive system. In fact, when you are stressed out, your body can’t digest food properly. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, going for walks, reading books, or playing with the dog, find a way to control stress that works for you.

Lose Weight Gradually

People who are overweight are more prone to gallstones and other gallbladder-related conditions. So it is in your best interest to lose a few extra pounds to improve your overall health. However, it’s important to lose that weight gradually and not with a fad diet that makes you drop pounds fast. Quick weight losses and gains can actually provoke gallbladder attacks.

Try a Toxin Cleanse

Toxins put a strain on all of your digestive organs, including the gallbladder. To keep it functioning well, eliminate toxins from your daily life as much as possible by eating organic foods and using natural cleaning products. To rid your body of toxins that you’ve already been exposed to, consider doing a juice cleanse or eating more foods that have natural diet cleansing properties. For example, nopal cactus and seaweed are recommended for digestive health.

Consider Acupuncture and Reflexology

Alternative medicine is one way to prevent serious medical conditions from forming or getting worse. There’s an acupuncture point situated between the thumb and index finger on the right hand that is connected to the large intestines. There’s also an acupuncture point at the edge of the rib cage that is connected to the gallbladder. Under the skillful care of an experienced acupuncturist, these points can be stimulated to encourage healthy gallbladder functioning.

Photo credit: Kyle Hunter via WikiMedia Commons

Reflexology is also an option for individuals looking to boost gallbladder health. For example, there’s a pressure point on the bottom of the right foot that is connected to the small intestines. Always discuss your health concerns and goals with a trusted medical professional before trying a new alternative therapy for the first time.

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