Did you know that more than 300,000 Americans get affected by pancreatitis every year, and statistics are growing even more? It is a very common disease, which requires strict medical treatment. Otherwise, it may lead to horrible, irreversible complications and even death.
What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory of your pancreas, an organ that is located near your stomach and is responsible for the production of enzymes to help digestion and hormones like insulin and glucagon. If the pancreas is swollen or inflamed, it cannot do its job.
Basically, there are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. The first one is usually caused by gallstones and accompanied by severe pain, while chronic pancreatitis typically develops due to an unhealthy diet. That’s why diet and lifestyle changes greatly benefit your pancreas.
What should you eat?
Let’s see what food is recommended for people with pancreatitis. Mainly, doctors advise eating products that are rich in protein and low in fats. It is especially good if the food contains antioxidants, which may help to reduce inflammation. Look for:
1. Fruits and vegetables.
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Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, watermelon, red grapes, apples, and black plums contain quite a lot of needed vitamins and microelements. Studies showed they can prevent Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even promote healthy sleep. Vegetables like beets, broccoli, spinach, carrots, lettuce, and sweet potatoes are highly recommended, as they have anti-inflammatory properties, protect from different diseases, including cancer, and are a great source of energy.
2. Beans and lentils.
These can lower your cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar. They are also a good source of protein.
3. Whole grains.
Brown rice, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, and most of gluten-free whole grains greatly benefit your pancreas and can provide you with a sufficient amount of calories.
4. Nuts and seeds.
Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and, of course, pistachios can be not only a wonderful snack but also strong support for your heart and brain. These are rich in not only vitamins and minerals but also essential amino acids and fiber.
What food to avoid?
- tobacco, caffeine, alcohol;
- wheat, soy, dairy, artificial sweeteners (presumable allergens);
- fried food and food high in saturated fat;
- fast food.
There are a lot of products that can damage our pancreas. Unfortunately, it is very hard to say no to them. We surely know this feeling. However, it works as a habit: Desire to eat unhealthy food greatly lowers over time. You just have to give it a good try.
Diet tips and precautions
Before changing your diet, however, it is recommended to consult your doctor or dietician. They might suggest these tips and precautions:
1. Eat 6-8 small portions throughout the day. This way, you will not overload your digestive system.
2. MCTs (coconut and palm kernel oils) do not require enzymes produced by your pancreas. Hence, make it your primary fat.
3. Avoid eating too much fiber, as it can slow down your digestion and worsen absorption of nutrients.
4. Multivitamins might be a good idea to supplement the possible deficit due to diet restrictions. Always consult a specialist before taking any of those.
Always remember that any organ in your body is a part of you. You cannot run with a broken leg, even if you love it, because you know about consequences. In the same way, you cannot eat everything you want if you have pancreatitis. The pancreatitis diet is an overall great practice for lowering risk of developing digestive and cardiovascular diseases. Help yourself to feel better!
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.