If you’re suffering from bouts of abdominal pain, gallstones could be the culprit – especially, if your diet is comprised of high-fat, refined foods. Affecting 1 in every 10 individuals in the UK and 3–10% of all pregnant women, gallstones are a common condition. If you’re overweight, pregnant, or over the age of 40, you might be at an increased risk of gallstones.1
When cholesterol is accumulated in your gallbladder – an organ present below your liver – it forms a hardened deposit called a gallstone. Sometimes, bile pigments can also be responsible for gallstones.
Although most gallstones do not display any symptom, you might experience a sudden abdominal pain if the stone is trapped in a duct within the gallbladder. As long as they don’t interfere with the functioning of your gallbladder, the stones are harmless. In some cases, the gallstones might cause an inflammation of the gallbladder. The most common way out of a serious gallstone complication is surgery. However, most gallstones can be naturally removed by these natural remedies.
1. Include Soy In Your Diet
Soy contains unsaturated fats, which are helpful in the removal of gallstones. You could also opt for soy-derived lecithin supplement, which can attract the unhealthy fats and aid in their elimination. By clearing out the unhealthy fats from the gallbladder, lecithin can help get rid of gallstones caused due to a cholesterol buildup.2 3
However, if you’re allergic to soy, make sure to stay away from it, as an allergic response can contribute to stone formation.
2. Drink Apple Juice
Experts believe that apple juice can soften the gallstones and facilitate their removal. Apple is also rich in iron and fiber, the two nutrients that can prevent and reduce the complications arising due to gallstones. Drink 2–3 glasses of apple juice every day to remove gallstones.4
3. Eat Bell Pepper
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which is known to inhibit gallstone development. The vitamin C content in bell peppers can reduce the destructive metabolism of cholesterol and prevent its buildup. Bell peppers are also a good source of dietary fiber, which also displays cholesterol-lowering properties.5 6
4. Have High-Fiber Vegetables
Eat broccoli, artichokes, and Brussel sprouts but avoid all types of legumes.
If you suspect you have gallstones or have had one in the past, it’s important to include high-fiber vegetables in your diet. So, eat lots of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and artichokes. An important thing to remember while planning your high-fiber diet is to leave out legumes (lentils, beans, peas). Legumes reduce your cholesterol level but increase bile secretion, thereby contributing to gallstone progression.7
It’s also best to stick to a vegetarian diet as meat could increase your cholesterol level. However, if you’re giving up meat, make sure you get your protein from other sources like tofu or soy.
5. Try Caffeine
If you’re a fan of coffee, here’s some good news. Certain studies have revealed that caffeine could reduce your risk of gallstones and be effective in its treatment. But, since the results are not consistent across studies, it’s best to talk to your doctor if caffeine if safe for you to consume on a daily basis. You could also opt for caffeinated green tea as it is generally considered healthier than coffee.8 9
6. Perform Yoga
When it comes to gallstone removal, the benefits of yoga are twofold. Firstly, it helps manage weight, which is important as obesity could be a risk factor for gallstones. Additionally, certain yoga poses are believed to target the gallbladder and ease the pain arising from gallstone complications. The yoga poses that are known to help are as follows.
- Locust pose (Shalabhasana)
- Bow pose (Dhanushasana)
- Cobra position (Bhujangasana)
- Back-Stretching Pose (Pachimotasana)
Should You Try A Gallbladder Flush?
For a few days before you go on a gallbladder flush, eat a high-alkaline and a low-fat diet, consisting of mushrooms, citrus, dates, raisins, spinach, grapefruit, tomatoes, and avocados. Remember to avoid processed foods during this period.
A gallbladder flush is a folk remedy that is believed to be helpful to some people in the removal of stones. A gallbladder flush functions like a “detox” diet and flushes out the stones. To perform a flush, drink repeated doses of a combination of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Epsom salt, and fruit juices (apple juice or grapefruit juice) and nothing else for a period of 2 days. This combination promotes the smooth passage of gallstones out of your system. The gallbladder flush is known to remove the gallstone within 2–3 days.10
However, some people may experience side-effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Since the gallbladder flush comes with its own dangers, approach a medical practitioner before trying it out.
If you suspect you have gallstones, you need to go for a CT scan, as a general X-Ray does not detect the stones. If you’re diagnosed with gallstones, remember they’re not a cause for concern as long as they don’t cause pain or inflammation.
|↑1||Gallstones. National Health Services.|
|↑2, ↑4, ↑5, ↑6, ↑7, ↑9, ↑10||Gaby, Alan R. “Nutritional approaches to prevention and treatment of gallstones.” Alternative medicine review 14, no. 3 (2009): 258.|
|↑3||Lecithin & Lipotropics. Huntington College of Health Sciences.|
|↑8||Gallbladder disease. University of Maryland Medical Center.|