Situated right under your liver, the gallbladder should not be confused with the actual bladder. It is shaped like a tiny pear and designed to store bile, which is produced by your liver during digestion. Depending on the food you consume, the gallbladder stores varying amounts of bile from the fat you eat. It will fill up until it is full. One’s gallbladder will eventually release the stored bile into the small intestines. As you can see, your gallbladder is there for a reason so it is imperative that you take good care of it.
What You Need to Know About Gallbladder Cancer Prevention
There is currently no perfect method to prevent most gallbladder cancers. Certain risk factors are beyond our control, e.g. bile duct defects, ethnicity, gender, and age. There are, however, things one can do that might help lower the risk of gallbladder cancer.
Maintaining a healthy weight and a healthy diet are important ways individuals can reduce their risk of gallbladder cancer, and even other types of cancer. Your diet should focus on plant-based foods.
Below is a quick look at three major types of food that can help prevent gallbladder cancer:
Lean Meats / Proteins
Lean meats and lean proteins refer to the same thing. It is important to note that fats can add significant stress to one’s gallbladder. That’s why the proteins you include in your diet must be as lean as possible. The goal is to relieve excess stress on the gallbladder.
Do you love seafood? If the answer is yes, you are in luck because it’s good for you! Seafood is an excellent source of heart-healthy fats. Some of the top picks in this category include salmon, sardines, tuna, clams, shrimp, scallops, lobster, and crab. When it comes to fish, you can eat almost any type. If possible, choose fish products that are canned in water. When cooking fish, it is recommended that you broil or bake the fish with fresh herbs and lemon juice. This can help minimize added fat.
Next, is skinless poultry. These products are great low-fat choices for individuals who want to avoid or have gallbladder problems. It is recommended that you cut visible fat from chicken and turkey. It is possible, however, to cook the meat with the skin intact. Just remember to remove it before eating. If you are looking to get ground poultry, e.g. turkey burgers, caution is needed. Some manufacturers add red meat and skin to enhance their products’ flavors. Healthier alternatives to consider include low-fat ground turkey and chicken or simply ground breast meat.
If beef is one of your favorite foods, always choose lean beef. Recommended choices include tenderloin, flank, and sirloin. If you notice product labels featuring words such as “Select” or “Choice,” they usually mean that the meat is a leaner cut. Same drill; remember to trim away visible fat from the beef.
When it comes to meat consumption, always be aware of your portion size. You should limit your meat intake to about three ounces of lean meat. It is equivalent to a deck of cards.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Start including oranges into your diet. It is one of the healthiest fruits for your body. The fruit is rich in Vitamin C, which is needed for a healthy gallbladder. Other berries and citrus fruits work well too. Aside from preventing gallbladder cancer, Vitamin C is known to have a preventative effect against gallstones. It can cut the risk of gallstone formation in half.
Avocados are another great fruit to consider. They are rich in potassium and rank highly for a gallbladder diet. The superfood also contains high levels of healthy fats. It’s important to note that potassium is an important nutrient for electrolyte and fluid balance, which is how you stay hydrated. Did you know that many individuals are chronically dehydrated? This increases the risk of health issues pertaining to one’s gallbladder. The goal is to prevent your bile from becoming too thick. Avocados are easy to prepare. Simply add them, in slices, to your morning toast or lunchtime salad!
Don’t forget to eat bitter greens. They are healthy vegetables that enable healthy fat digestion. Examples of bitter greens include bitter artichoke, broccoli rabe, endives, and okra. They help to stimulate bile production. You see, when the gallbladder is blocked or produces insufficient bile, problems start to occur.
Speaking of vegetables, broccoli and spinach are dark leafy greens you shouldn’t ignore. They play an important role in maintaining a healthy bladder and are loaded with magnesium. This element helps individuals to clear calcium, which is often found in gallstones.
Let’s kill two birds with one stone. You can stimulate the flow of bile and protect your liver by eating beets. Betaine is needed for a healthy gallbladder diet. To get these benefits, you can add beets to your smoothie, soup, and juice!
You shouldn’t only stick with one type of fruit or vegetable. Remember, variety is key. For ideal gallbladder health, the recommended servings are 2 ½ cups of vegetables and two cups of fruits per day.
It is highly recommended that one replaces refined grain products in his or her diet. Refined grain foods include low-fiber cereals, instant rice, and white bread. Proper whole-grain alternatives include oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain bread. Whole grains are healthier because the nutritious components are not stripped away during processing. It goes without saying that they provide more nutrients.
A good example of whole grains is oatmeal. It is touted as an important part of one’s diet. They are not only low in calories but can help prevent certain chronic health conditions, such as gallbladder cancer and disease.
Foods containing oatmeal contain zero trans fat or cholesterol. If you are concerned about your gallbladder health, eat them! Simply eat one serving of cooked oatmeal per day. Ensure that no sugar is added.
If you are really serious about preventing gallbladder cancer, you can consider supplementing whole grains with other foods. For example, one can add seeds to a bowl of oatmeal, e.g. sunflower seeds, to increase healthy fat and fiber content. Alternatively, you can also add one ounce of chopped walnuts to a serving of oatmeal. This helps to boost polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and fiber content by up to 13 grams.
Remember, moderation is key. One needs to watch his or her serving sizes to avoid excessive caloric intake, especially when whole grains are supplemented with seeds and nuts.