Most people never give a thought to the health of their gallbladder. During a fatty meal, the gallbladder contracts, delivering the bile through the bile ducts into the intestines to help with digestion. The gallbladder stores bile and bile acids which emulsify fats eaten so it can be properly transported through the intestine into the blood stream. The bile is made in the liver – but stored in the gallbladder until the body needs it for the digestion of fat. At that time the gallbladder contracts and pushes the bile into the bile duct, which carries it to the small intestine, to aid digestion.
When the gallbladder isn't working as well as it should, gallstones develop, and most people are unaware that there is a problem. Yet in a small percentage of people, gallstones can trigger a variety of symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.
When gallstone symptoms are frequent, recurrent, and especially uncomfortable, the typical treatment is surgery to remove the gallbladder. Watching what you eat, keeping a healthy weight and cleansing may help you prevent gallstones from forming and avoid some discomfort if you do develop gallstones.
Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. The gallbladder can develop either one large stone, hundreds of tiny stones, or almost any combination.
Foods to Boost the Function of The Gallbladder Bile Flow
- Red beets. Eat them raw, grated into salads or add the juice into your daily Green juice.
- Artichokes. Leaves from the artichoke plant contain caffeylquinic acids, which promote bile flow. The simplest and least expensive way to benefit from these compounds is to eat the artichoke leaves. They're easy to both prepare and eat.
- Sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice. When used regularly, sauerkraut and its juice will promote bile output. A tablespoon or two half an hour before and after meals is recommended. In addition, enjoy cup of the juice by itself taken once or twice a week before breakfast. It's easy to make homemade sauerkraut.
- Leafy greens
- Apples - our preference is Granny Smith apples
Beets can be a wonderful health promoting food. Beets provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detox support in the body. Today, I want to talk about why that is the case. I often recommend beets to many of my clients, namely clients with obvious liver or gallbladder issues. The reason beets help with liver/gallbladder issues is that they support healthy bile flow.
Beets are just one of the many foods that can help to support proper healthy bile flow and detoxify the body. I personally love beets and have several recipes for their use. Beets are in season summer through winter. Be sure to purchase organic beets with the tops and use both. Consider taking the very top of the beet where the leaves attach and shredding it up as a slaw to eat daily if possible, especially if you have a sluggish gallbladder.
Beets have a tremendous regenerating effect on the body, and for those recovering from digestive ailments beets help to can be used a digestive aid. It is an excellent tonic for the blood as it alkalizes the blood, promotes regularity, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones. Beet juice or beet kvass is also helpful in healing the gallbladder, or important for those without a gallbladder as it helps to thin out the bile. If the bile is too thick the liver and gallbladder get congested and problems start to occur.
The betaine in beets is what aids digestion, as well as helps to promote healthy stomach acid and juices. The nice thing about drinking beet kvass is you get all the nutritive value of the beets without all the sugar content and the added benefit or lactic acid bacteria. Beets are also loaded with minerals, fermenting them only enhances their nutritive properties.
How Beets Support Healthy Bile
Beets contain betaine and are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, as well as carotene and B complex. Betaine is a substance that helps to protect the liver and stimulate the flow of bile. Betaine also plays a role in reducing levels of homocysteine in the blood, according to the National Institutes of Health. Homocysteine is a toxic substance in the body that can lead to osteoporosis and heart problems. The betaine is found in the peel and flesh of the beet, but is mainly concentrated in the top of the beet where the leaves connect. Traditionally, beets have been used as a ‘folk remedy’ for liver disorders. Betaine is essential for proper liver function, fat metabolism and to help promote the flow of bile. Betaine can actually help protect the liver from the impact of alcohol on the liver, making beets (or betaine) an excellent support for detoxification.
Healthy Bile & Bile Flow
Fats in the diet require adequate bile production from the liver and adequate bile release from the gallbladder to be properly emulsified and digested. What is Bile? Bile is a soap like substance secreted by the liver. Bile salts emulsify the fats from our food. By increasing the surface area of the molecules, lipase (or fat splitting enzymes) digest fats and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K more efficiently. Bile is made from cholesterol, it sequesters cholesterol and is a main way in which we eliminate cholesterol from our bodies. When our bile acid levels are high, our body stops making more cholesterol. When our bile acids are low our bodies can make up to 15 times more cholesterol. Bile also helps make calcium and iron more absorbable.
Bile is also the fluid into which the liver excretes toxins for removal. After the bile is produced in the liver, it goes to the gallbladder for storage, and eventually heads into the small intestine for removal. Bile is secreted by the gallbladder through hormone messages when we eat a meal containing fats. After the intestines absorb these fats they are then used by the body to build cells, hormones and prostaglandins. This only happens fully if our digestion is working properly.
Toxins are excreted from the liver through bile fluid, when the flow is encouraged and enhanced, the liver can remove those toxins/poisons more effectively. Bile and the toxins it contains, is incorporated into the stool. When the stool does not move through the intestines easily and timely enough, waste products accumulate and clog the bowel. When constipation occurs, bacteria in the intestines split the toxins that are bound up in the bile, in turn causing re-absorption of these already detoxified poisons. A clogged bowel actually irritates the lining of the large intestine, allowing waste products and other toxins to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Waste remaining in contact with the intestinal wall for a long period of time can cause chronic inflammation and other serious complications.
DBM Protocol - Adjunct Therapy - Gallbladder Cleanse
- A 2-day apple juice and olive oil cleanse. This program requires you to drink only that which is recommended for the Gallbladder Cleanse.
- Follow the instructions on the Body Cleansing page: Gallbladder Cleanse
- For supportive salads, supportive juices, supportive teas, and other foods that help support the gallbladder during the cleanse please follow the links or visit the Food For Life page