If you loosen up your healthy diet a bit over the holidays and indulge in all the sweets, treats, and rich foods, you are not alone. Most people gain a little weight in the weeks between Halloween and New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, all of that holiday eating can lead to the development of painful gallstones.
At Desert West Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada, our team of surgeons has perfected minimally invasive techniques to remove your gallbladder when you develop stones. Let’s explore how and why gallstones form and how certain foods can increase your risk.
Understanding the gallbladder
Your gallbladder is a small pouch-shaped organ that resides just under your liver. Its primary function is to store bile, which is a fluid that your liver produces to break down fatty foods that you eat. You can live without your gallbladder, so if you develop problems with it, such as gallstones, we often recommend removing it.
Symptoms of gallstones
Gallstones are hardened deposits of calcium, bilirubin, cholesterol, and digestive fluids that form in your gallbladder. They can range from microscopically small to the size of a large plum. If you’ve developed gallstones, you may experience some or all of the following symptoms:
The main sign of gallstones is sudden, severe, and escalating pain in your upper right abdomen.
5 foods to avoid during the holidays
While the exact cause of gallstones is unknown, there is a strong link between your diet and the development of the painful condition. That’s why we recommend that you avoid these five foods all year long, and especially during the holiday when rich foods are in abundance.
1. High-fat dairy
Because of the link between gallstones and a high-fat diet, one of the easiest switches you can make is low-fat cheeses and milk or non-dairy options like almond milk and plant-based butter.
2. Fatty cuts of meat
To reduce your risk of gallstones, opt for lean cuts of red meat, or choose chicken, fish, or pork. If you are served a fatty portion of meat, cut away and dispose of as much of the fat as possible.
3. Refined carbohydrates
Eating refined carbohydrates like cookies, candy, chips, and pastries amps up your body’s insulin secretions, which can cause cholesterol levels in your bile to build up too high.
4. Fried foods
Greasy foods that are fried in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils are difficult
to break down. If you choose to have fried foods on occasion, our team recommends that you choose heart-healthy oils such as flax, coconut, and avocado.
5. Soft drinks
Sugar and carbonation in soft drinks impede your gallbladder’s normal function. Water is your best beverage option for its many health benefits and because it detoxifies impurities that impact your gallbladder.
To avoid a trip to the hospital over the holidays, be sure to include plenty of fruits, fibrous vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean meats on the menu.
Should you develop gallstones and need emergency relief, our team offers minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery or, in severe cases, open surgery.
You can trust our skilled and knowledgeable team for comprehensive care when developing a problem with your gallbladder. Call the location closest to you, or book your appointment online.