Diet for Pancreatitis

Overview

Inflammation of the pancreas leads to pancreatitis. Pancreas is a big gland at the back of the stomach and close to the duodenum which secretes digestive enzymes to small intestine through a tube called the ‘pancreatic duct’. These enzymes in turn assist the digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in food.

Common Types of Pancreatitis

  1. Chronic
  2. Hereditary
  3. Acute

Causes of Pancreatitis

  1. Alcohol
  2. Gallstones
  3. Medications
  4. Hereditary diseases
  5. Exposure to certain chemicals
  6. High fat levels in the blood
  7. Infections such as mumps
  8. Surgery and other medical procedures
  9. Traumas
  10. Abnormalities of the pancreas or intestines

Factors that Lead to Pancreatitis

  1. Structural abnormalities of the pancreas
  2. Viral infections like Hepatitis and Epstein-Barr virus
  3. Pancreatic cancer, which can obstruct the flow of pancreatic enzymes
  4. Inherited diseases, especially Cystic fibrosis

Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis occurs abruptly, generally with gentle to harsh pain in your upper abdomen that may spread out to your back and rarely to your chest. The pain may become worse when you consume alcohol. Other signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis are:

  1. Swollen, tender abdomen
  2. Rapid pulse
  3. Fever
  4. Nausea
  5. Vomiting
  6. Dehydration
  7. Low blood pressure
  8. Internal bleeding
  9. Shock

Diet Tips to Combat Pancreatitis

  • Quit alcohol and nicotine. This is because they stimulate the pancreas to a great extent. Stop smoking and chewing tobacco also.
  • Maintain a low fat diet consisting of 30% fat.
  • Try to eat food that is high in carbohydrates and proteins as they reduce the work pressure of your pancreas.
  • Stop eating rich and spicy foods to reduce the chances of another attack.
  • Do not eat large meals at a time. Rather go for small frequent meals.
  • Avoid concentrated sweets and desserts that are very sweet if your blood glucose level is high or above normal.
  • Caffeine and gas-forming food items stimulate pancreas. So avoid these type of foods.
  • Margarine, butter, bacons etc., should also be avoided.
  • Quit red meat. Rather go for chicken.
  • You can include soybeans in your diet as they are very good antioxidants.
  • You can have light chicken soups or vegetable soups frequently.
  • Green leafy vegetables are also very good for pancreatitis.
  • Keep some fruit juice with you and whenever you are tempted to have alcohol, sip it.
  • Drink plenty of fluids in the form of soups and juices.

When to Go for Doctor’ Advice

If you have extreme and continuous abdominal pain, visit your doctor and find out the cause.

More on this Topic…

Check out the article for best foods for Pancreatitis.