‘Do I need to change my diet after gallbladder removal?’

One Starts at 60 reader is wondering whether they need to change their diet after gallbladder removal surgery. Source: Getty.

Q: I have just had my gallbladder removed and would like to know what to eat?

 After gallbladder removal, there are a few things that need to be considered when it comes to planning a healthy diet. Let’s just recap on what the gallbladder does. A healthy gallbladder collects and concentrates bile, which helps you to digest fat and assists with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, E and D, omega-3 fatty acids from fish and omega-6 fatty acids from nuts and seeds.

When the gallbladder is taken away, bile is released straight into the small intestine and is not concentrated. You can still absorb fat and fat-soluble vitamins, however, in some people it may cause the bowel to be a bit runny (diarrhoea), and could cause gas and bloating. Essentially though you can eat a normal healthy diet as prescribed by the Australian healthy eating guidelines. If you do have digestive upset, you could consider the following tips:

  • Eat less fat — around 3 grams of fat per meal or snack
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently
  • Try to eat the recommended amount of fibre each day (25-30 grams).

Q: Is it more beneficial to take turmeric in powder or capsule form?

 Turmeric supplements are generally more cost effective in a powder form as there are less manufacturing costs. Turmeric is quite bitter when taken on its own and some people prefer capsules to avoid the taste. You can of course cook with the herb and use other herbs, like curry, to make it taste more appealing. Make sure the powder has an adjuvant such as black pepper to activate its potency. If in doubt consult with your healthcare professional for the best powder.

Teresa previously answered another reader’s question about turmeric:

Q: Is turmeric good for you? How much should I take? 

Turmeric has been touted as a cure-all for many diseases. It’s a well-known herb that originated from the traditional Indian Ayurvedic herbal practices. It’s generally regarded as safe in its powdered form and can be used in cooking at a level of one to two teaspoons per day. In Ayurvedic medicine it was added to milk and ghee or coconut oil as a medicine for gastric upset of any form, and as an anti-inflammatory in arthritic conditions.

As with all herbal medicine, there’s no one-size-fits-all and there may be some interactions with certain medications such as blood thinning medications. Turmeric in tablet form may cause an additive effect to blood thinners and increase the risk of bruising and bleeding under the skin. Always talk to your health care professional before taking turmeric with prescribed medications.

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s health experts, email it to [email protected].

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and information purposes only. It does not take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any decisions about your health or changes to medication, diet and exercise routines you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from a medical professional.

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