What can I do to minimize the risk of gallstones?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
While the body does not need the gallbladder for digestion, it’s wise to take preventive measures to avoid this condition altogether. Follow the four-step prevention plan suggested by Dr. Ozto stay gallstone-free.
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Part of maintaining a healthy weight is eating a healthy, balanced diet. Limit your fat intake, and know your vital numbers, including cholesterol levels. Finally, ban yo-yo dieting. Yo-yo dieting causes shifts in the amount of cholesterol in the bile and increases your risk.

2. Don’t skip meals
When you skip a meal, bile builds up in the gallbladder and your body has to wait until the next meal to empty it all out. Eating small meals throughout the day will minimize your risk by regularly moving the bile out of the gallbladder. Healthy or monounsaturated fats, which you can get from foods like nuts, fish, avocado and olive oil, also help to clean the gallbladder out.
3. Exercise regularly
Inactivity increases your risk and slows your digestive system down, including bowel movements. A slowed digestive system does not move bile out of the gallbladder efficiently. Remember that even moderate exercise can help keep your body’s complex processes running smoothly.
4. Drink one cup of coffee a day
Research shows that caffeine can actually reduce the cholesterol levels in bile, thus cutting your risk for developing gallstones.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.