My friend recently had her gallbladder removed as emergency surgery. She was always joking around with me because she knows I am a nutritional therapist and she loves her McDonalds. When I heard about her emergency surgery, I thought about how common this condition is becoming and how it can be so easily corrected with diet and nutrition. Post surgery, she appears to have taken on a more serious and active role in her nutrition choices. I believe prevention is the key here. Eating the right foods to exercise the gallbladder and keep it functioning without getting backed up with stones and sludge.
Bitter could be the missing link in your quest for better health.
What do bitter and bile have to do with each other? Plenty! our livers produce up to a quart of bile each day. This bile is used to break down fat in the diet. Bile is our natural emulsifier. It breaks down not just fat, but toxins and heavy metals, excess chemicals and hormones. Bile is one of the main ways the liver detoxifies! Bitter foods stimulate this bile production process by stimulating the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes and the liver to produce bile. A win-win! Without getting into all of the complexities of the many other relationships to bile after breaking down fat, let’s just say that without the ability to digest fat in the body, one will not survive for long. If you can’t break down fats, you can’t absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K. Modern living and poor food quality creates a poor environment for the liver to produce healthy bile. On top of that, bitter is not a taste that many people enjoy. When the bile gets unhealthy (think sludgy), it can lead to a large number of health problems, including gallstones. The modern solution is to simply remove the gallbladder. I have seen proof that zero guidance is given to some patients after this procedure. I don’t know about you but I like digesting fat!
From thyroid issues to lower digestive problems, bile plays a key role in many processes. This system must be cared for and nurtured as much as any other system of the body.
Unhealthy bile is linked to many common conditions such as:
Unable to lose weight
Bitter taste in mouth after meals
Digestive problems after eating fatty meals
Dry skin and hair
Leaky gut syndrome
Autoimmune issues (Hashimoto’s, allergies, arthritis)
If you have had your gallbladder removed you can still produce bile (you just can’t store it) and there are many helpful things you can do to maintain and or improve the situation. Of course, taking bile salts is mandatory and timing this with meals is important. It is suggested to take a bile salt supplement containing at least 100-150 mg of bile salts. An all natural diet while eliminating the usual suspects of wheat and dairy is the best place to start.
Keep your bile healthy. Bitter is the way!
Don’t be SAD (Standard American Diet)
Yes, bitter is back! After being so popular in the early 20th century, bitters were part of an everyday healthy plan. Bitters were used in everything from food dishes to mixed drinks.
Today the homely bottle of bitters sits on a tiny obscure shelf by the mixed drink accessories. Unless you are a
bartender, you probably have never used bitters.
For those that can’t tolerate the alcohol, there are plenty of other options for getting more bitter in the diet. One of the five main tastes of the human tongue. the bitter sensation that our tongues detect when tasting foods is not to be yucked on.
Use and embrace bitter. Green tea, hibiscus tea, Pu-Erh tea, jasmine tea, dandelion root tea, chicory, most greens, especially arugula and dandelion, spices like cumin, fennel, bitters, dark chocolate, dill, ginger. What’s not to like about these!
Other bile building foods: Beets, artichokes, macadamia nuts, anchovies, choline, taurine, lecithin, apple cider vinegar, horseradish, orange peel, grapefruit, gentian, coconut oil.
A lot of these recommended foods are naturally high in fiber which is a much-needed element to assist in bile production.
Some other surprising foods that might be worth eliminating as a test are onions, pork, and eggs. All great foods, I know, however, they may be making you sick. It may be worth your time to check for food sensitivities.
To quote the words of Ann Louise Gittleman, bile is beautiful, bile is sexy, bile is brilliant! She is right! Improving one’s own digestion by bringing in bitter foods is a very simple, easy and powerful action to take. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
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