The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac located under the liver and on the right side of the abdomen. Its main function is to store and concentrate bile. It is part of the biliary system, which acts as a reservoir for bile that is not used for digestion.
Bile is produced by the liver and helps in the digestion of fats. When food enters the small intestines, a hormone called cholecystokinin triggers the gallbladder to release bile into the upper small intestine. The bile aids in the digestive process by breaking down fats.
A bad gallbladder makes it difficult to digest any fats in the diet, which could at times cause pain plus a wide variety of symptoms. Fortunately, there are a few natural remedies you can try to boost the function of your gallbladder.
Natural Remedy Foods
There are some foods that can help increase the flow of bile or the development of gallstones.
Artichoke leaves contain caffeylquinic acids, which encourages bile flow. Place two artichokes in a shallow dish with approximately ½ to 1 inch water at the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 4-5 minutes in a microwave. To eat, scrape the flesh from the leaf between your teeth. Discard the pithy part of the leaf.
2. Sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice
Sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice promotes the flow of bile when used regularly. Drink ½ cup of sauerkraut juice once or twice a week before breakfast.
3. High-fiber foods
Adding fiber in your diet can help in the absorption and elimination of excess fat. Consider using fiber supplements, such as flax meal. Mix 1 teaspoon flax meal in 8-ounce apple juice for a drink high in fiber and pectin.
4. Foods rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C-rich foods like red bell peppers, broccoli and dark leafy vegetables can help you avoid gallstones. Vitamin C also has the additional benefit of immune and antioxidant protection.
5. Foods rich in alpha-lipoic acid
Alpha-lipoic acid is a fatty acid and a naturally occurring antioxidant found in many foods such as potatoes, spinach, broccoli and organ meats. Its antioxidant properties can help in preventing the development of gallstones.
Natural Remedy Herbs
Herbs have long been used as a natural way to strengthen and tone the body’s organ systems. To make tea out of the following herbs, steep 1 teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep for 5 – 10 minutes if using leaf or flowers and 10 – 20 minutes if using roots. Drink 2 – 4 cups every day.
1. Milk thistle – long been regarded for its liver and gallbladder detoxifying capabilities
2. Green tea – provides antioxidant protection
3. Globe artichoke – supports gallbladder and liver function and increases the production of bile. Gallbladder attack may occur if there is bile duct obstruction. Consult your physician before taking this.
4. Turmeric – supports liver function. High doses can have blood thinning effects.
The following nutritional dos and don’ts can help reduce symptoms of gallstones.
• Eat foods rich in iron and B-vitamins, such as whole grains and dark leafy greens.
• Eat foods rich in antioxidants, such as fruits like blueberries, cherries and tomatoes, and vegetables like winter squash, cauliflower, spinach and kelp.
• Avoid suspected allergens, such as milk, cheese, and ice cream, wheat and chemical food additives.
• Eat more lean meats for protein. Avoid red meats.
• Stay away from refined foods like pasta, white bread and refined sugar.
• Use healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil, and reduce trans fatty acids found in processed foods, commercially baked goods and margarine.
• Avoid alcohol.