I have recently been diagnosed with gallbladder sludge and have been advised surgery for removal of gall bladder. But I want to avoid that. My diet is a healthy vegetarian one with the occasional junk and I’m not obese. Please advise on a diet and treatment plan so I can avoid surgery.

Gallstones may result when the bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin. If your gallbladder doesn’t empty completely, bile may become very concentrated, contributing to the formation of gallstones. Diets that are high in fat and cholesterol and low in fibre play a role in the formation of gallstones. There is also a link between quick weight loss and gallstone formation; therefore, an overweight person should work to lose weight gradually.

Fresh fruits and veg, whole grains, lean meat and low-fat dairy products are healthy foods for your gallbladder, as well as the rest of your body. Avoid or limit high-fat foods in your diet — fried and processed foods (doughnuts, pie, cookies), whole-milk dairy products (cheese, ice cream, butter), fatty red meat. Eat vegetable proteins like beans and pulses and increase fibre intake.

Gallstones often cause no symptoms and require no treatment. But some people with gallstones will have a gallbladder attack that can cause symptoms such as nausea and intense abdominal ache that might require surgical management.

Numerous herbs known as cholagogues and choleretics have been found useful in preventing gallstones in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Cholagogues are herbs that stimulate the gallbladder to contract, while choleretics stimulate the liver to secrete more bile. Both these actions could help reduce the risk of developing gallstones. Turmeric, citrus fruits, dried ginger, black pepper, long pepper, hing, etc., fall under these categories.

There are a few Ayurveda preparations that can help to dissolve the cholesterol stones over a period of time. Consult an Ayurveda doctor in person with your medical reports.

Dr VL Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.