5 Foods for the Gallbladder

Bile is a fluid produced by the liver. It is involved in the breakdown of fats that enter the body with food, and improves intestinal motility. Bile accumulates in the gallbladder. The most common diseases of this organ are cholecystitis and cholelithiasis.

The gallbladder is located on the right side of the human body, just below the liver. This is a relatively small (about the size of a chicken egg), but a very important organ. It accumulates and stores bile, which is constantly produced by the liver, but is needed only periodically for our digestion.

The body produces from 1 to 1.8 quarters of bile per day. This secretion helps the digestion process, increases the activity of pancreatic enzymes, eliminates excess cholesterol and accumulated toxins from the body.

Both excessive stimulation and suppression of bile secretion are harmful. To avoid problems, it is important to monitor the diet. We tell you what foods are good for gallbladder health.

If the production and outflow of bile are disturbed, a person suffers from nausea and bloating, flatulence, pain in the right side, belching, constipation, or diarrhea. Over time, malnutrition leads to the development of gallstone disease; stones form in the gallbladder that blocks its excretory ducts, which can be accompanied by intense pain.

Cholagogue foods activate the outflow of bile and prevent its stagnation and the formation of stones.

Knowing which foods affect the functioning of the biliary system, you can follow a diet and prevent stagnation of bile without the use of medications. Products that stimulate the outflow of bile are conventionally divided into several groups.

In addition to products and herbs that have a choleretic effect, the body needs a sufficient amount of fluid for normal bile secretion. Otherwise, bile can thicken, which leads to its stagnation. The recommended amount is 1.5-2 quarts of water per day.

Herbal Teas

Their main components are chamomile, immortelle, yarrow, mint, coriander, and calendula, which eliminate the stagnation of bile. However, taking choleretic herbs is only permissible if there are no stones in the gallbladder and bile ducts. Otherwise, you can provoke an attack of hepatic colic.

Cholagogue Foods

All choleretic products can be divided into two groups. The first includes those that increase the production of bile by the liver (choleretic drugs).  The second includes those that help remove bile from the gallbladder into the intestines (cholekinetic). Some of the choleretic agents have both effects: they increase both the production of bile and its excretion.

How Choleretic Foods Work

Choleretic means promoting bile secretion by the liver. 

The most common cause of the stagnation of bile is malnutrition. Therefore, for the prevention and treatment of this disease, it is recommended to follow a special diet, which includes choleretic foods. The mechanism of their action is based on the stimulation of the contraction of the gallbladder. Strengthening its’ motility improves the outflow of bile and normalizes the process of bile excretion into the duodenum, and then into the intestines.

In the morning, after sleep, the gallbladder is most relaxed, the outflow of secretions from it is slowed down, and there is a strong stagnation of bile. To force it to contract more actively in order to improve outflow, a proper choleretic breakfast helps.

Fresh Vegetables and Fruits

Fruits and vegetables are the main components of the daily diet. They are valuable sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The list of vegetables that trigger the process of bile formation includes:

  • tomatoes;
  • all types of cabbage;
  • carrots and beets;
  • asparagus and artichokes;
  • parsley, cilantro, dill;
  • rhubarb and spinach;
  • olives and olives.

Fruits that have a positive effect on bile excretion include:

  • dried apricots;
  • figs;
  • plums;
  • Apples;
  • Strawberries;
  • bananas;
  • citrus.

Spices and seasonings

Spices have a positive effect on the production and outflow of bile. Therefore, they are used not only to enhance the taste of dishes and give them a special aroma but also to normalize digestion processes. Cinnamon, chicory, turmeric, and ginger have a pronounced choleretic effect. This group of choleretic products should be used with caution. They can harm those who suffer from diseases of the liver and gallbladder.

Cholagogue Drinks

For the normal functioning of all organs and systems, it is necessary to observe the water balance and drink enough fluids. Its lack causes concentration and stagnation of bile. The liquid can enter the body in the form of plain or mineral water, tea, decoctions, compotes, etc. Have a pronounced choleretic effect:

  • hibiscus drink,
  • water with the addition of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar;
  • vegetable juices;
  • fruit juices, compotes, jelly;
  • vegetable broth from cabbage, carrots, and beets;
  • water with honey;
  • decoctions of calendula flowers, rose hips, ginseng root, barberry berries, corn stigmas, immortelle flowers, dandelion leaves, and wormwood.

Before regular use of herbal decoctions, it is important to be examined for the presence of gallstones. The presence of stones can provoke pain.

5 Foods/Herbs to Include in Your Meals

1. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle reduces the risk of developing gallstones.

This plant:

  • prevents the increase in foci of inflammation;
  • normalizes its secretion;
  • improves the properties of bile.
  • With colic, the use of milk thistle alleviates pain.
2. Olive Oil

Olive oil has a beneficial effect on the work of the entire digestive tract and stimulates the outflow of bile into the duodenum. The most useful are vegetable oils obtained by direct extraction, which have not undergone heat treatment. Therefore, they are recommended to be used in food as part of sauces, and as a dressing for salads. Taking a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in the morning 30 minutes before meals stimulates the active release of bile.

This is one of the most beneficial foods for the body. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants.

  • prevents cell destruction;
  • improves digestion;
  • reduces the likelihood of gallstone formation.
3. Lemon and Lime

Lemon and lime juice can support the production of bile and hydrochloric acid, as well as remove toxins from the body.

You can add lime or lemon juice to warm water and drink it in the morning. This will start the detoxification processes and support the metabolism.

4. Parsley and Cilantro

Greens help stimulate bile flow and remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body.

Parsley can also reduce inflammatory liver enzymes.

Cilantro is rich in polyphenols, making it a great detoxifier. Add parsley to a variety of salads, juices, and smoothies.

5. Turmeric

This spice contains curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering properties. This substance is a powerful choleretic agent that increases the tone of the gallbladder and facilitates its emptying. Just 20 mg of curcumin is enough to reduce the volume of the gallbladder by three times.

You can use it as a spice or as a fresh root in salads, soups, or hot dishes.


Also, like turmeric, ginger is an anti-inflammatory agent that improves the contractility of the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.

Foods such as rhubarb, spinach, cilantro are also useful for the gallbladder, all of which allow you to activate the outflow of bile.

Caffeine stimulates the gallbladder to contract, which releases bile. But be careful, coffee only prevents the appearance of stones in the gallbladder, and if there are already stones in the gallbladder, it is better to switch to tea, as drinking coffee can lead to increased pain.