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Diet After Gallstone Surgery

By Michael Bartlett ; Updated August 14, 2017

Your gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ in the abdomen and holds the digestive fluid bile. A diet high in fat and cholesterol may cause bile to harden in the gallbladder, forming gallstones; you may have to have the gallbladder surgically removed. People suffering from gull bladder disease, or who have recently had gallstone surgery, benefit from following a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet.

Low-Fat Diet

Bile aids in the digestion of fats. After the gallbladder has been removed, the body may not produce enough bile to properly digest fats from foods, resulting in upset stomach and diarrhea. To help prevent those symptoms, avoid hydrogenated oils, animal fats, margarine, saturated fats and fried foods. You should not eliminate all fats from your diet. Healthy fats such as olive oil, flax seed oil and omega-3 fatty acids should be included in small amounts as the body benefits from these healthy fats. Follow a strict low-fat diet four to six weeks immediately after having the gallbladder removed.

High-Fiber Diet

A high-fiber diet prevents constipation and excess gas production following removal of the gallbladder, keeping you more comfortable. Fiber, with proper fluid intake, moves through the digestive tract with little effort, keeping the tract free of blockages. High fiber choices include whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, split peas, lentils and black beans. You should try to consume 25 to 38 g of fiber per day.

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Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

After the gallbladder has been removed, a diet that includes plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables is beneficial to help you heal. In addition to providing fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables are low-fat and contain needed vitamins and minerals. Recommended fruits and vegetables include beets, cucumbers, onions, garlic, grapes, lemons, tomatoes, apples and berries. Use caution with vegetables known to cause gas, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, as they may cause digestive discomfort.

Helpful Dietary Tips

When adjusting to a post-gallbladder diet, there are many things you can do to limit discomfort. These tips include choosing low-fat meat and seafood and trimming all visible fat from meat. Ask your doctor about taking a vitamin supplement; not getting enough vitamin C, vitamin E or calcium may cause you to experience digestive discomfort. Add turmeric and ginger to meals, both aid in bile production and fat digestion. When dining at restaurants, keep dressing off of salads, select grilled chicken or fish, and order rice or potato without butter or sour cream.

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