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D.iet & H.ealth : G.eneral H.ealth Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

Fruits, vegetables may help lower gallstone risk
By Ben Wasserman
Oct 7, 2006, 19:46

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A new study by Harvard researchers suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables daily may reduce the risk of developing painful gallstones.

In the study, which was published in a September issue of American Journal of Medicine, Dr. Chung-Jyi Tsai at Harvard Medical School in Boston and Colleges followed up 77,090 female nurses aged 37 and 64 when entering the study between 1984 and 2000 for their dietary habits and the rates of gallbladder removal. Removal of gallstones often involves removal of the gallbladder.

During the 16-year-follow-up, 6,6000 women had their gallbladders removed. But researchers found that those who consumed the highest amounts of fruits and vegetables were 21 percent less likely than those who consumed the lowest amounts to have a surgery known as cholecystectomy, surgical removal of the gallbladder.

The association was significant even when other risk factors such as age, weight and diabetes were considered. Researchers believed that a spectrum of nutrients including dietary fiber, antioxidants such as vitamin C and minerals such as magnesium may all help prevent gallstones.

The results from the study were a statistical correlation between consumption of fruits and vegetables and risk of gallstones, meaning that using fruits/vegetables does not necessarily result in reduction of the gallstone risk. The study could not exclude effects from other lifestyle factors on the reduced risk of gallstones.

Early studies, however, did come to a similar conclusion that those who eat a diet full of fruits/vegetables such as vegetarians are less likely to have gallstones.

Cholesterol is the primary ingredient in most gallstones, meaning dietary cholesterol may raise the risk of gallstones. Using a diet rich in sugars and animal fats and poor in vegetable fats and fibers may raise risk of gallstones.

Gallstones do not have to be subject to any surgery. Alternative or herbal medicines exist that help get rid of gallstones easily. Readers are encouraged to do a search on the internet for more information on alternative treatments for elimination of gallstones.

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