The gallbladder is a small organ located in the upper right section of the abdomen. The gallbladder lies between the liver and small intestines and is connected to both by ducts. The purpose of the gallbladder is to collect bile which is produced in the liver and supply the bile to the small intestines. The bile is then used to digest fat in the small intestines. While the gallbladder is frequently removed by doctors at the first sign of trouble,
it does serve an important purpose and careful consideration should be made before removal. The gallbladder collects unused bile from the intestines, and therefore saves the liver from having to produce as much. This is an important function as an overworked liver can start producing toxic bile. There are many foods we eat that can cause both healthy and unhealthy effects on the gallbladder. In many cases, the damage done to the gallbladder will be caused by the liver in response to the food.
An important aspect of gallbladder health is to understand that the health of the gallbladder is totally dependent on the health of the liver. Almost all problems associated with the gallbladder are caused by a problem with either the liver, or with the bile it produces. The best way to ensure gallbladder health is to ensure that the liver is not overworked and that it has the proper amounts of nutrients to produce healthy bile.
One of the leading effects that food can have on the gallbladder is the formation of gallstones. While gallstones can exist in the gallbladder and cause no problems or symptoms, it is also possible they move to the duct leading to the small intestine and cause blockage or infection. One major symptom of a blocked duct is jaundice. Jaundice is caused by the accumulation of bile in other parts of the body, most notably the skin and eyes. People suffering from jaundice will exhibit yellow skin and eyes. Refined carbohydrates are a major contributor to the formation of gallstones. Always try to use whole grain or unrefined ingredients while cooking. Another common cause of gallstones is a diet that is high in fat and cholesterol. This causes two different things to happen. First, the liver is forced to produce extra bile in order to digest the excessive fat in the intestines, and secondly, the bile that is produced will, in fact, contain excessive amounts of cholesterol, which can form into stones in the gallbladder.
There are a number of foods that can be included in a diet that will diminish the chance to develop gallbladder problems. For the most part, these foods will help to cleanse the liver and therefore allow the liver to produce healthier bile. The best way to improve gallbladder health with food is to replace the damaging foods like saturated fats from beef and refined carbohydrates with healthier alternatives like omega-3 fatty acid from fish and whole grains. Two other foods that are very good for bile production, and therefore the gallbladder are the winter fruits; pears and apples. Other fruits and vegetables are also good for the overall health of the liver and gallbladder.
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