Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

Holistic Health

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Thousands of people have their gallbladde­rs removed every year due to gallstones, indigestio­n and similar ailments. Despite this, many still experience digestive problems afterwards.

If you’re in this position, the good news is that you can ensure comfortabl­e digestion after gallbladde­r surgery through a better diet and eating less at each sitting.

HOW THE GALLBLADDE­R FUNCTIONS

The gallbladde­r is a hollow, thinwalled, pear-shaped organ located on the right side of the abdomen under the liver. Its main function is to serve as a reservoir for bile, a yellow-brown, digestive enzyme produced by the liver.

Bile is composed of water, salts, cholestero­l, lecithin, and pigments such as bilirubin, and it helps the body break down and absorb fats from food.

The liver produces 800mℓ to 1 000mℓ of bile daily, secreting it into the gallbladde­r, where it is stored until needed.

During meals, bile flows from the gallbladde­r through the bile duct and into the small intestine. Here it combines with the partially digested food to help break down larger fat particles into smaller fat droplets.

POST-SURGERY DIET AND HEALTH

After gallbladde­r removal, the liver still produces bile. However, rather than entering the small intestine in one go when you eat, the bile slowly and continuous­ly drains into it, which means digestion can take longer.

You can help speed up the process in three ways: follow a low-fat diet, avoid rich foods, and eat smaller meals more frequently. – Johanita Louw Louw farms vegtables and has had a lifelong interest in holistic nutrition. Email her at farmerswee­kly@caxton.co.za. Subject line: Holistic health.

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