One of the main purposes of the liver is the secretion of bile—about a quart a day. Bile is a liquid is produced in the liver, but stored in the gallbladder. The gallbladder then releases bile into the small intestines when it receives a signal—and the signal is actual consumption of healthy fats. Healthy fats such as pastured butter, egg yolks, avocado and walnuts stimulate bile flow, while trans-fats do not. Eating fat free foods for long periods of time results in sluggish bile flow and fat digestion, leading to gallstones, gas, belching and nausea after eating. Moreover, we naturally crave fats because our cells aren't getting the fatty acids they need to function properly, leading to hormonal imbalance (we need fats to build hormones and bile to detoxify hormones), inflammation, depression and excessively dry (and aging) skin. Gallbladder surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the US, because bile ducts are hopelessly congested due to low fat diets. Thus, eating healthy fats on a regular basis is vitally important to keep bile flowing, to keep bile flowing to digest fats and to detoxify the body.
Bile is also vitally important in absorbing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and a powerful antioxidant that carries toxins filtered by the liver out of our bodies via the small intestines.
The most effective ways to promote gallbladder health are not periodic cleanses but a diet that consistently supports bile flow.
1. Include root vegetables such as beet root, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic and ginger to stimulate bile production; there is also a supplement called “Beta TCP”, which is best absorbed when chewed.
2. Make sure you include healthful, traditional, unprocessed fats such as grass-fed butter or ghee, pure olive oil, avocadoes, sprouted nuts and seeds, pastured whole eggs and pasture-raised animals. Avoid processed, non-traditional fats such as trans-fats canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil and grapeseed oil. They exacerbate liver congestion.
3. Include some coconut oil in your diet. This oil contains primarily medium-chain fatty acids and is actually absorbed without bile—which is good and bad. If you struggle with fat absorption, this fat is a life savior, but it does not actually stimulate bile production. So, make sure it’s not the only fat you consume.
4. Supplementing with ox bile helps break down fats in your digestive tract. It’s a tool to use for up to 2-3 months, unless you had your gall bladder removed. If you have, you will need to use to use this supplement permanently to properly digest fats.
5. Included fermented foods in your diet, such as sauerkraut, coconut kefir and pickles. The active enzymes in these e foods stimulate pancreatic health, which stimulates digestion.
6. The cardinal rule in all digestive processes: eat calmly, sitting down, and chew, chew, chew your food!