Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner


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Gallstones/Gallbladder Conditions


Do you have pain in your upper right abdomen, nausea, or vomiting after eating a fatty meal?


Risks for Developing Gallbladder Conditions

You are at risk for developing gallstones if you

  • are overweight
  • don’t exercise daily
  • have been eating fewer than eight hundred calories a day for 12 -16 weeks
  • are taking birth-control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • drink a lot of wine
  • use laxatives
  • eat too many animal products (butter, bacon, cream, cheese, red meat and chicken or turkey skin)

What You Can Do To Reduce Your Risks and Heal Your Body:

  • stay away from greasy, high-fat foods and stick with lean sources of protein (turkey, fish, chicken, tofu and other soy product)


  • aim for a diet of 75% raw fruits and vegetables
  • eat whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, and rice
  • foods that can especially strengthen your gallbladder are apples/apple juice (without added sugar), radishes, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, and bitter greens (radicchio, dandelion, escarole, arugula, endive)
  • avoid dieting; dieting raises your risk of gallstones and gallbladder surgery by 70%
  • avoid sugar and products containing sugar (read labels of everything and ask waiters and waitresses what is in the food you order)
  • avoid animal fat and meat (including skin), fried foods, spicy foods, margarine, soft drinks/sodas, commercial oils, coffee, chocolate, and refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, white rice, most breakfast cereals unless 100 % whole grain, cakes, pies, cookies, candy, etc.)
  • for 5 days, consume as much pure apple juice as possible; add pear juice occasionally; invest in a juicer and put 2-3 ounces of beet juice in a glass of carrot juice
  • if you have gallstones, combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the juice of 1 lemon and ½ grapefruit before going to sleep at night and upon awakening; many stones pass in the stool with this technique
  • if you are having gallstone pain, heat a piece of flannel or cotton with ½ cup of castor oil; place the castor oil pack on the gallbladder area for at least an hour; for a more powerful pack, place a heating pad on top of the soaked flannel pieces and then a piece of plastic
  • get peppermint oil capsules from a health food store or online; you can also sip peppermint tea after eating; either can stop burping and help with digestion
  • take up to 3,000 mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) daily in divided doses of 500 mg; take vitamin C when there is no fat in your stomach and with a full glass of water; in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, men and women who had a high level of ascorbic acid in their blood had 13 percent fewer incidents of gallbladder disease; lemon is full of vitamin C so use it with extra virgin olive oil as your salad and vegetable dressing; strawberries, grapefruit, limes, and green and red peppers are also high in vitamin C if you prefer eating healthy as opposed to taking a pill
  • use extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for cooking and salad dressings, mixed with some apple cidar vinegar, garlic and basil or other spices you like; avoid bottled salad dressings. you can also use Sesame tahini on salads and steamed vegetables
  • keep physically active; exercise has been linked with reduced risk for gallstone disease
  • take a vitamin tablet/capsule daily; use a high potency formula: vitamin B is especially important for proper digestion and cholesterol metabolism; vitamin A helps with repair of tissues, and vitamin C deficiency can lead to gallstones; you can get a lot of your vitamins if you eat essential fatty acid foods, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains every day
  • take 1 tablespoon 3 times a day before meals of lecithin granules or capsules; these are fat emulsifiers that aid in the digestion of fats; find them at a health food store or online. make sure the supplement uses non-GMO soy
  • essential fatty acids are important to the repair and prevention of gallstones; find them in flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds (raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, chestnut oil, chicken, fish (especially ocean salmon, sardines, anchovies, chunk white tuna and mackerel), Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, etc.), soybean oil, wheat germ oil; eat at least a handful a day of 3-4 of these    
  • avoid overeating; eat 5 smaller meals, not 1-3 large ones

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Copyright, Carolyn Chambers Clark, 2008. This page is excerpted from American Holistic Nurses' Association guide to Common Chronic Conditions, Self-Care Options to Complement Your Doctor's Advice. Revised, 2015.

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