Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Font Size

Understanding Gallstones -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Gallstones?

A sensible diet is the best way to prevent gallstones. Avoid crash diets or a very low intake of calories (less than 800 calories daily). Seek out good sources of fiber -- raw fruits and vegetables, cooked dried beans and peas, whole-grain cereals and bran, for example -- and avoid eating too much fat. A high-fiber, low-fat diet helps keep bile cholesterol in liquid form. However, don't cut out fats abruptly or eliminate them altogether, as too little fat can also result in gallstone formation.

Recent studies have shown that moderate consumption of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons a day) may actually lower your chances of developing gallstones. An ingredient in olive oil evidently helps reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and gallbladder. Researchers have found that the incidence of gallstones is relatively low among people who live in areas where olive oil consumption is high.

Understanding Gallstones

Find out more about gallstones:

Basics

Symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention

 

Studies suggest that lecithin -- a natural substance used as a thickener in ice cream, mayonnaise, and other foods -- may help prevent gallstones by keeping cholesterol from solidifying in the gallbladder. Lecithin is found in a number of foods, including soybeans, oatmeal, eggs, milk, peanuts, cabbage, and chocolate. Even though most people get plenty of lecithin in their normal diet, supplements are available in tablet or liquid form at health food shops and drugstores. Take 500 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams daily, or follow the instructions on the label.

WARNING: Over time, large amounts of choline, a chemical in lecithin, could lead to liver problems or other complications. Check with your doctor or nutritionist before taking lecithin supplements.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on April 05, 2014

Today on WebMD

man holding his stomach
Get the facts on common problems.
blueberries in a palm
Best and worst foods.
 
woman shopping
Learn what foods to avoid.
fresh and dried plums
Will it help constipation?
 
top foods for probiotics
Slideshow
couple eating at cafe
Article
 
sick child
Slideshow
Woman blowing bubble gum
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Woman with crohns in pain
Slideshow
Woman with stomach pain
Slideshow
 
diet for diverticulitis
Video
what causes diarrhea
Video