Follow these tips to avoid gallstones
Gallstones are common and can often cause some significant symptoms, but there are some ways you can follow to lessen your risks.
Watch your weight
A leading risk factor of gallstones formation is carrying excess weight, and obesity in particular greatly increases the risk of gallstones formation. However, it is important to avoid crash diets, as rapid weight loss can also be a trigger for gallstone formation. Look to lose weight in a healthy, gradual and sustainable way: eating controlled portions of nutritious healthy food, exercising regularly, getting enough rest and staying adequately hydrated. A steady, slow weight loss of 1-2 pounds a week is ideal.
Focus on good fats
Research suggests that monosaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids may lower your risk of developing gallstones. These are found in fish oils, canola oil, avocados, olive oil and flaxseed. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, as they can increase your risk. This means easing up on animal products. Vegetarian diets do have some protective effects against gallstone formation.
Eat enough fibre to stay full and to help you to manage a healthy weight, minimise sugar and even enjoy the odd cup of coffee as some research has suggested it may have a protective effect against gallstones. Equally, some studies have found that a regular inclusion of nuts such as almonds and cashews may help to lower your risks. A natural, balanced diet with wholefoods, a minimal amount of processed foods and a good spectrum of vitamins and minerals will benefit your health overall.
Also maintain your body’s hydration by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of fluid a day.
There are a number of medications which may also raise your risk of forming gallstones. These include some cholesterol-lowering drugs and some hormone therapies. Remember, the benefits of medications will generally exceed the potential risk of gallstone formation for most conditions and it is essential that you don’t stop taking a prescribed medication without consulting your doctor first. So it’s well worth discussing with your healthcare provider if you are on these medications and have any concerns about gallstones.
Wherever possible, seek to manage your gallstone risks by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly and moderately as part of a healthy lifestyle overall.
Please ensure you consult a healthcare professional before making decisions about your health.