YOUR gallbladder is a small pouch that is in the upper right side of your abdomen next to your liver. Its job is to concentrate and store the bile produced by your liver so that you can digest and absorb fat.

It is common for people to have problems with their gallbladder. This can range from a small nagging sensation to severe pain from gallstones, which sometimes leads to an operation to remove your gallbladder known as a cholecystectomy.

Gallstones are small stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder and cause blockages. These often don’t cause symptoms, but if the bile duct is blocked it becomes painful.

Gallstones can develop as a result of poor diet and a sluggish liver, and probably affect one in ten adults. According to the NHS, the risk factors for developing gallstones are being overweight or obese, female (especially if you have children), 40 or older.

Gallstones tend to form when there is insufficient bile flow or when it stays in the gallbladder for too long. Symptoms of gallstones include: pain in the abdomen or just below the ribs on the right side that sometimes spreads to the shoulder blade, nausea, high fever or fever, indigestion, yellow and itchy skin, diarrhea, and loss of appetite

Of course, speaking with your GP if you have these symptoms is important, but if you know you have gallbladder problems and want to know how dieting can help, here are some ideas.

It is possible to reduce your risk of developing gallstones by changing your diet. The most important thing is to think about the function of the gallbladder and its role in digesting fat. Once your gallbladder has been removed, it is important to eat a diet that supports your liver as it will work hard to make up for the lack of its auxiliary organ.

Think about what kind of fat you are eating. Essential fats help maintain a healthy cholesterol balance and stimulate healthy bile flow, reducing the risk of gallstones forming. Olive oil, flaxseed, and oily fish are good choices.

Cut down on fried foods, high fat foods, and saturated fats from meat and dairy products.

Avoid margarine and sunflower or vegetable oils. They put additional strain on the liver and are not a good choice. That includes these low-calorie spray oils. Avoid them. Olive oil is preferable.

Eat more fiber. Soluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, oats, flaxseeds, and legumes help bind fats and cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing gallstones. It seems that ground flaxseed can have particular benefits, so try adding a few teaspoons to your diet – sprinkle them on porridge, add to soups or smoothies, or sprinkle them over vegetables or curry at dinner.

Drink plenty of water, especially if you increase your fiber intake, as the fiber will have limited benefits otherwise. Half a lemon squeezed into water in the morning is considered a gentle and effective way to support liver function.

Bitter foods can help stimulate the flow of bile: arugula, watercress and other dark green leafy vegetables, beetroot, artichokes, cucumbers, lemons, coffee, celery. Once you’ve removed your gallbladder and started eating these foods, just leave. Gradually is preferable.

Herbs like milk thistle, dandelion, and artichoke can be helpful in helping liver function, but if your gallbladder has been removed, caution should be exercised as they can stimulate the flow of bile – so take it easy.