Advice on how to prevent gallstones

The liver is constantly producing bile. When it is not needed for the digestion of food, the bile enters the gallbladder to be stored. Here water is extruded, concentrating the bile and making it 10 to 15 times stronger than the bile produced by the liver.

Bile digests fat, and also contains waste eliminated by the liver as it breaks down drugs, hormones and proteins. Bile is released into the duodenum to aid digestion.

Gallstones are the most common problem associated with the gallbladder. These stones may go undetected for long periods of time, but once a larger stone passing through the bile duct becomes lodged, it can cause intense pain under the right ribcage. Bloating and pressure in this area are indications of liver and gallbladder problems.

Those who suffer from indigestion, gas or bloating following a rich high-fat meal may have inadequate bile. This would mean that the vitamins A, D, E and K, which require the presence of fat to be assimilated in the body, are likely to be very poorly absorbed.

A diet high in fibre while low in animal fats is the key. Good quality protein sources include tofu, beans and lentils. Lecithin is an essential ingredient in bile and is very pleasant to take in granule form sprinkled over cereal or porridge.

Artichoke is a member of the chrysanthemum family. Its leaves have been used by many in connection with gastrointestinal complaints stemming from bile deficiency in the liver and gallbladder. It is a powerful antioxidant, lowers LDL or bad cholesterol while increasing HDL or good cholesterol. It increases bile flow and liver function, and helps with abdominal discomfort, heartburn, bloating and nausea.

Black radish has been used as a food for centuries. It is rich in B and C vitamins and sulphur, and its high fibre content increases peristalsis and is helpful as a laxative and for bile movement. Black radish activates liver cells and maintains a healthy gallbladder.

Artichoke and black radish pure juices are produced by Salus Haus and priced at just €6.50 each. They work well in combination for bile insufficiency aiding in the breakdown of gallstones when taken before a meal.

For further information contact Susan in Au Naturel, Irishtown, Athlone on (090 ) 6487993.

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