There is no guaranteed way to prevent gallstones from occurring, but eating whole grains, foods that contain calcium, fiber-rich foods and foods that contain some fat reduces the risk, according to WebMD. Milk products and green, leafy vegetables also decrease the risk of experiencing gallstones.
Fat is important for reducing the risk of gallstones because it causes the gallbladder to empty, notes WebMD. However, saturated fats and other foods that are high in cholesterol should be avoided. It is important to eat meals on a consistent schedule to prevent gallstones.
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing gallstones, states WebMD. Losing weight by dieting and then gaining the weight back increases the risk of developing gallstones, so experts recommend losing 1 pound per week. Exercising regularly helps with weight loss and also reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
As of 2015, some research suggests that women who take estrogen, high-dose birth control pills or other hormones may have a higher risk of developing gallstones, reports WebMD. Women taking hormones may wish to speak to a physician about the benefits versus the risk.
If gallstones occur, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if there is sudden or severe pain, if breathing becomes difficult or if consciousness is lost, notes WebMD. Abdominal pain may be a symptom of a more serious health condition, especially for people over the age of 60 or for anyone who has a heart problem.