It is possible to effectively prevent gallstones through dietary and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes include routine exercise and a gradual weight loss program. These also form part of your treatment for gallstones.

If you have gallstones, these protective measures will also help you to prevent getting a gallstone attack.

Dietary changes to prevent gallstone formation

A well-planned healthy gallbladder diet consists of fruits and vegetables, enough fiber, low-fat foods, and plenty of fluids.

Don’t go overboard to lose weight with a very low intake of calories (less than 800 calories daily). Avoid crash diets. Rapid weight loss can trigger the formation of gallstones or may trigger the onset of the symptoms if you already have gallstones

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables will improve the health of your gallbladder and help prevent gallstone formation.

Eat at least five portions of different colored fruits and vegetables every day to prevent gallstones from forming. They contain Vitamin C, calcium, and B vitamins. These nutrients are essential for a healthy gallbladder.

Some fruits and vegetables that you should particularly eat include:

  • bell peppers
  • citrus fruits
  • dark, leafy greens
  • tomatoes
  • beans
  • nuts
  • lentils
  • capsicum
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • pawpaw
  • kiwi fruit
  • strawberries
  • pineapple.
  • You can eat bananas if you have gallstones because they are low in fat content. In addition, they contain vitamins C, B6, and magnesium, which are all good for a healthy gallbladder.


Seek out foods that provide you with a good amount of fiber. A high-fiber, low-fat diet helps keep cholesterol in the bile in liquid form and prevents them from forming hard deposits.

Some good fiber-providing foods include:

  • raw fruits and vegetables
  • cooked dried beans and peas
  • whole-grain cereals
  • bran

Stick to healthy fats

Avoid eating too much fats. However, don’t eliminate them completely or suddenly from your diet because it can lead to gallstone formation.

The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, fruits, vegetables, fiber, whole grains, olive oil, canola oil, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in avocados, canola, flaxseed, and fish, are significantly helpful in preventing gallstone disease. They help the gallbladder empty its contents completely and on a regular basis.

Avoid saturated fats as these fats can increase your chances of developing gallstones and some other health problems. Instead of red meat and whole milk, go for lean chicken, skim milk, and low-fat yogurt.

Olive oil

Recent studies have shown that if you consume a reasonable amount of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons a day), it may actually lower your chances of developing cholesterol gallstones.

Olive oil contains a rich amount of monounsaturated fatty acids. It is also packed with beneficial antioxidants that lower your LDL cholesterol while leaving your HDL cholesterol untouched. LDL is the bad cholesterol while HDL is the good cholesterol.


Lecithin is a natural substance used in some foods like ice cream, mayonnaise, and some other foods. Lecithin in your diet stimulates bile secretion and prevents bile acid-induced cholestasis by preventing cholesterol from solidifying and forming stones in the gallbladder.

You will find lecithin in a number of foods, such as soybeans, oatmeal, milk, peanuts, cabbage, chocolate, and eggs.


Drinking plenty of water facilitates the complete emptying of the gallbladder and keeps bile from building up in it. This prevents gallstones from forming.

Drinking adequate water has many health benefits. It also helps you slim down because when you drink more water, you eat less.

Lose weight gradually

Obesity is one of the top lifestyle risk factors that make you prone to gallbladder problems. If you are overweight or obese, you should lose weight gradually.

But, if you indulge in rapid or sudden weight loss, have undergone weight-loss surgery, or are sticking to a very low-calorie diet (less than 800 calories per day), it can increase your risk of developing gallstones.

Crash diets and rapid weight loss programs cause the liver to secrete more cholesterol into bile thereby increasing the cholesterol levels in the bile and the risk of developing cholesterol gallstones.

Weight loss should be gradual at a rate of one or two pounds per week over a period of 6 to 10 months till you achieve your ideal body weight.

It, therefore, becomes a challenge to prevent gallstones after gastric sleeve surgery (bariatric surgery) when weight loss can be rapid. One in ten patients who have had bariatric surgery will develop gallstones and may have to get their gallbladder removed.

To prevent gallstones after the weight loss surgery, you should eat small meals more frequently and regularly. Limit animal fats and eat fish thrice a week. Stick to the foods advocated above and avoid those mentioned below.

Fast sensibly

Fasting increases cholesterol levels in the bile and decreases gallbladder movement, which can cause bile to stagnate in the gallbladder. This predisposes to gallbladder formation.

To prevent gallstones when fasting, drink plenty of water. It helps the gallbladder empty properly and prevents the bile from building up. Drinking more water can also help you to lose weight.

Drink coffee

According to a study, four or more cups of coffee consumption significantly reduced the risk of gallstone disease. This is probably due to the caffeine in coffee, which stimulates the contraction of the gallbladder for proper bile outflow and proper emptying.

Avoid the following foods that increase your risk

  • Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates. Food sources include white bread, white pasta, and refined sugars.
  • Do not eat fried and fast foods.

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity can significantly help reduce the chances of developing gallstones.

You should engage in aerobic exercises every day for nearly 30-40 minutes at least five times a week. It will improve health, prevent weight gain and gallbladder disease.

Take preventive medication to reduce gallstone risk

If you are at a high risk of developing gallstones, your doctor may advise certain preventive medications to prevent gallstone formation.

  • Drugs such as ursodiol (Actigall or Urso) are advised to prevent gallstone formation by dissolving them when they are small.
  • Statins, prescribed for high cholesterol levels, can also reduce the risk of cholesterol gallstone formation.

Avoid these medications to prevent gallstones

Certain groups of cholesterol-lowering drugs and post-menopausal hormones used in women or oral contraceptives can increase your risk of gallstones. Estrogen increases the production of cholesterol in the body.

Similarly, some triglyceride-lowering drugs, such as gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (Fibricor or Tricor), can increase the risk of gallstone formation because they lead to an increase in cholesterol levels in bile.

Therefore, talk to your doctor for the next best option if you need these types of drugs to control your cholesterol or need hormonal correction.

How to prevent gallstones during pregnancy?

Pregnant women are at increased risk for gallstones because of increased estrogen levels. The weight gain during pregnancy and the rapid weight loss after pregnancy also increase the risk. Increased estrogen levels increase your risk because it can cause cholesterol levels in bile to spike, which can lead to the development of gallstones.

Having gallstones can prove to be a problem during pregnancy. Gallstone symptoms such as the biliary colic of an attack can be really painful and can cause complications.

These dietary and lifestyle prescriptions of a healthy gallbladder diet, pregnancy exercises, and maintaining a healthy weight gain during pregnancy will help prevent gallstone formation and a gallstone attack when you are pregnant. Know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid during pregnancy.