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DIET TREATMENT FOR PANCREATITIS


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ of the digestive tract located behind the stomach near the beginning of the small intestines, that produces several enzymes to aid in the digestion of food, as well as the hormone insulin, which controls the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. When the pancreas is inflamed, the body is not able to absorb all the nutrients it needs. Though symptoms of pancreatitis vary from one person to another, in general it includes abdominal tenderness, sweating, weight loss, fever, rapid heartbeat and breathing, nausea and vomiting, oily stools (chronic pancreatitis) and mild or moderate pain in the upper stomach.
Pancreatitis can be of two types – chronic and sudden. Both types of pancreatitis can cause bleeding and tissue death in or around the pancreas. Chronic that does not heal or improve, gets worse over time, and leads to permanent damage. While dietary changes can help one to control sudden pancreatitis, in case of chronic pancreatitis you may have to opt for long-term changes. As with many other digestive problems, your diet can either help or hurt you. Below are some basic diet tips that can help easing the discomfort, and, as always, your doctor is the best one to tell you how to eat.

DIET TIPS FOR PANCREATITIS


A Low-Fat Diet

It is also advisable that. Stick to a low fat diet plan if you follow a high fat diet, chances are high that it would put additional strain on the pancreas, thus worsening the situation even more. This is because the pancreas has to work harder to break down the fat molecules. Cutting the fat in your diet can also help prevent abdominal pain from underlying pancreatitis. Fat in the diet is a key stimulant for the pancreas to become “activated” and produce enzymes to help with digestion, this activation often causes pain from an inflamed pancreas to become worse. The amount of fat you should eat varies depending on your weight and height, but for an average person, it is felt that you should not consume more than 20 grams of fat a day. No one meal should have more than 10 grams of fat. However, you'll still need to include some healthy fats in your diet to help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to help you determine how much fat you should be eating.

Eliminate Food Allergens


Often people suffering from pancreatitis are found to be allergic to certain types of foods such as wheat (gluten), dairy (cheese, ice cream, and eggs), soy, corn, chemical food additives, and preservatives. To avoid the risk of contracting pancreatitis, opt for an allergy test. In case the test reveals that you have an allergist, eliminate these suspected food allergens from diet immediately.  This will reduce inflammation that may be confused with, or compounding pancreatitis. An acute pancreatitis food allergy could also occur, if you eat the foods that do not agree with your digestive system, thereby delaying the recovery process. Therefore, you need to be careful while consuming wheat, dairy products, soy, corn, nuts or any food additives.

Antioxidant Diet


The recommended acute pancreatitis food intake list mainly contains those items that are high in antioxidants. A diet high in foods that contain antioxidants can help treat and prevent pancreatitis. Antioxidants help combat free radicals, which damage body tissues and may contribute to acute pancreatitis. Some of the foods that are high in antioxidants and therefore should be eaten while treating pancreatitis include soybean, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, cherries, pomegranates and berries. These antioxidants foods can help protect the pancreatic tissue from being weakened by the attacks of free radicals.

Have Frequent, Small Meals


If you are suffering from sudden pancreatitis, having smaller, more frequent “mini meals” throughout the day instead of fewer large meals may also improve digestive pain. Eating large meals, on the other hand, can put unwanted load on the pancreas and intensify the symptoms. Sometimes it is best to rest the pancreas and limit your food intake. If you are experiencing a flare, your doctor may even recommend no food for a day or two.

Avoid a High-fiber Diet


A high-fiber diet led to more gas and flatulence in people with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency caused by chronic pancreatitis. Dietary fiber also appeared to contribute to fattier stools. Fiber doesn’t cause problems for everyone with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, so talk to your doctor about whether you need to limit it or not. If a low-fiber diet is appropriate for you, it’s still important to eat fruits and vegetables. Ask your doctor or a nutritionist about the best fresh produce to choose. Generally, tender-cooked vegetables like carrots, beets, and spinach are lower in fiber. Steer clear of berries, raw vegetables, and prune juice. If you have a problem with digestion, try using a vegetable juice extractor and drink vegetable juice instead. Juices are easier to digest than whole vegetables and also allow you to get the required vitamins and nutrients in liquid form.

Get Plenty of Fluids


If you have pancreatic disease, it is important to drink lots of water. Research has shown that dehydration causes the pancreas to flare. Dehydration puts severe stress on the body and can contribute to symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency. Hydration is best for prevention and treatment and usually considered the first step before all others. It has been recommended that a patient always have a bottle of water or any liquid with them at all times. Ideally, you should drink 8-9 glasses of water every day. In addition, if you want, you can also opt for smoothies, low calorie fruit juices and vegetable juices. Drinking Gatorade or other sports drinks is a good way to keep from being dehydrated.

Pancreatitis Dietary Restrictions


There are certain foods that aggravate the condition and so you need to avoid them completely while going through treatment. Some of the foods that are a part of the acute pancreatitis dietary restrictions and should be strictly avoided include trans-fat or saturated fat, alcohol and caffeine. This means that you need to stay away from junk food, fried food, refined food, bakery items, sweets, chocolate spicy foods, carbonated drinks, and drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee and tea. Food that stimulates the pancreas also contributes towards acute pancreatitis and so you should eliminate them from your diet completely. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine all stimulate the pancreas. When the goal is providing the pancreas rest, stimulation is not helpful. Consequently, it's important to avoid these while addressing acute pancreatitis and either eliminate or reduce your daily intake.

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