Bile, made in the liver, is stored in gallbladder and it contains water, cholesterol, fat, bilirubin and bile salts. Bile is released from the gallbladder into the small intestine to digest fat. If the bile has too much of bile salts, fats, bilirubin and cholesterol, it can harden into stones.

There are two types of stones, one is cholesterol stones which accounts for about 80% and the rest is bilirubin stones. The stones can be very tiny or as big as a plum and there may be one big stone or hundreds of tiny stones and almost in each possible combination. About 80% of the stones are harmless and not at all detected. Gallstones come with age; obese women get it three times more often than men and are also hereditary.

Gallstones can prevent the flow of bile in the small intestine by blocking the ducts. Other ducts like pancreatic duct, opens in the common bile duct to bring its enzymes to the small intestine. The problem here is the trapped digestive enzymes of the pancreas cause an extremely painful inflammation. If it is blocked for a considerable time, severe damage is possible for liver, gallbladder or pancreas.

The symptoms of this serious problem include:

• Fever
• Jaundice
• Continuous heavy pain.

Diet plays a vital role here because it can influence the amount of cholesterol in the bile, thus preventing the formation of the gallstones. Certain foods can keep cholesterol in solution at the same time they can expel stones into the duct, causing a very painful gallbladder attack.

Increase the intake of water soluble fibre by eating fruits and vegetables. The recommended foods are apples, artichokes, grapefruit, lemon, watermelon, beet roots, broccoli, spinach, celery, carrots, fennel, radish, garlic, barley and olive oil. The non-vegetarian can take fish, turkey without skin and chicken without skin in very small quantities, but they should not forget to take enough fruits and vegetables. This is the best way to treat gallstones is to prevent them.

Whole grains and products and healthy plant oils must also be the part of the food.

The foods to avoid include:

• Meat or meat products,
• Red meat
• Pork
• Egg
• Milk
• Oily or fatty foods
• Spicy foods
• Fast foods
• Junk foods
• Processed foods
• Corn
• Beans
• Nuts
• Onions

If we take less fibre but a lot of sugar, then it is a risk factor. You need not avoid sugar but eat very moderately and take more fruits and vegetables to get enough fibres.

Coffee directly, with no milk or sugar and with or without caffeine, can stimulate the gallbladder to contract, probably bringing a gallbladder attack. It is better to avoid coffee if you are prone to gallstone attacks.

Avoid smoking and tobacco products.

The skipping of breakfast or not eating for a long time may lead to gallstones. We need food so that bile acids keep cholesterol in solution to prevent the formation of gallstone.

Overweight is a risk in women for gallstones and it is better to reduce the weight. But, do not forget, losing weight very quickly gives only the adverse result. It is better to reduce less than three kilos per month.

Physical activities are important. Select according to your time and health. It is better to consult with your doctor before you start.