If the liver is Batman, the gallbladder is Robin. It tends to get overlooked because the liver gets a lot of publicity. Technically it’s not a vital organ; the body can adapt if the gallbladder needs to be removed. However, gallstones, a gallbladder attack and surgery sound absolutely terrifying so it’s really in our best interest to take care of it.
Once the liver does it’s job, the gallbladder holds all of its digestive juices. Next it helps out the stomach by releasing bile (ick, but necessary) to break down fats and extract nutrients from our food. It specifically breaks down fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. That’s not something that should be ignored. What’s the point of eating nutritious foods if we can’t digest them? Detox junkies: bile is a very important part of the detoxification process. Toxins and chemicals from our food or environment that can make us feel sick are caught and transported out of the body via bile. Fun fact: in Chinese medicine, the gallbladder governs planning and decision making as well as action and assertiveness. When we keep our gallbladder happy, decision making is much easier.
So how do we keep the good old GB in check? This isn’t fun, but avoiding processed foods that contain excess fats that can lead to inflammation – including packaged foods with hidden sugars like nut butters, condiments, granola bars and sweetened yogurts. Keeping alcohol intake in check is also a good idea, so your digestive system doesn’t have to work overtime.
Now for the fun stuff! Keep enjoying vegetables in any and every form: raw, cooked, or juiced. If you’re opting to cook or saute, coconut oil will be the easiest option for your system to digest. One standout fruit to eat for gallbladder health is green apples: the pectin naturally found in apples is cleansing to the gallbladder, and liver too. Tea with bitter herbs like milk thistle and dandelion will cause your gallbladder to release bile (remember: very gross, but very important) and help your system digest fats. Citrus fruits like lemon, orange and grapefruit also help naturally cleanse your system. Your citrus-infused spa water isn’t just bougie, it’s good for you!