Nutrition Treatment For Pancreatitis
Because the pancreas is very involved with handling meals, nutrition plays an important role in the treatment of pancreatitis.
For acute pancreatitis, the focus is on giving the pancreas time to rest. This may involve a period of fasting with nothing but fluids for a little while.
As symptoms improve, you may progress to a diet that is low in fat and concentrated sugars to reduce the burden on the pancreas. Since acute pancreatitis lasts only a short while, this may be all that is required to manage the condition.
In those that are at risk for malnutrition, tube feeding is sometimes used to supply carefully tailored nutrition without harming the pancreas.
In rare cases, when all forms of food are not tolerated for an extended period, intravenous nutrition is needed.
Nutrition is a significant part of the lifestyle of people with chronic pancreatitis. Since the damage done in chronic pancreatitis cannot be reversed, eating right can help to slow down the damage and keep the pancreas working as well as possible.
There are several priorities for nutrition management in chronic pancreatitis:
Sweet Potatoes Squash And Other Orange Foods
Orange foods like sweet potatoes, carrots and squash contain a form of vitamin A known as beta-carotene, which may have a positive effect on pancreas health.
Sweet potatoes contain B complex vitamins, vitamin C and minerals like manganese and copper. Squash contains vitamins B6, C and K, along with calcium, choline, potassium and magnesium.
Pancreatitis Diet: Best Foods To Eat And Which To Avoid
The Pancreas is an organ that sits behind the stomach and plays an important role in digesting food and regulating blood sugar.
Pancreatitis is a serious problem that can disrupt the normal function of the pancreas and may require changes to the way you eat.
This article will provide an overview of pancreatitis and how to manage this condition from a nutrition point of view.
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Food That Irritate The Pancreas
Diet includes drinks, so its a good idea to give up sodas, which contain a lot of sugar and salt. Alcohol is also something that should be avoided if you want your liver and pancreas to stay healthy.
For beverages, stick to sugar-free lemon tea, herbal teas, or dairy alternatives such as oat milk.
Common foods that irritate the pancreas include liver, red meat, hamburgers, French fries, and potato chips. Full-fat milk or cheese, margarine, and butter, along with pastries and mayonnaise are other foods to avoid.
For a healthy pancreas its best to stick to protein-rich foods very low in animal fats and containing antioxidants. Vegetables and pulses such as beans and lentils are good for the pancreas, as are clear soups. You may choose a plant-based diet, as it might be the safest. However, fish, white meat in moderation can be good too. Non-fat dairy such as oat milk or almond milk are also a beneficial option if you are seeking to avoid foods that irritate the pancreas.
If youre craving sugary food, reach for some fruit. Blueberries, oranges, cherries, grapes, pineapple, or papaya in moderation are always a great snack option.
Pancreatitis Diet Food List
A strong functional pancreas not only generates insulin, which the system uses to manage blood glucose levels, but it also generates enzymes that assist your body in digesting and utilizing the food you eat.
An inflamed pancreas has a more difficult time digesting fat and cannot absorb as much nourishment as the body needs.
Studies show that approximately 5% of the worlds population has chronic pancreatitis.
The studies further show that approximately 15% of people who have at one time or another experienced acute pancreatitis, will most likely have another episode in the future.
If you have recurrent attacks of pancreatitis and continued pain, your healthcare provider may have you experiment with your daily fat intake to see if your symptoms improve.
Approximately 80% of pancreatitis cause is alcohol abuse.
Even though the diet does not cause pancreatitis directly, it can lead to certain conditions associated with the illness, such as gallstones and increased lipid levels.
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How To Avoid Malnutrition
People living with EPI have a high risk of developing malnutrition, which involves deficits in vitamins and minerals, as well as calories. The main symptom of malnutrition is weight loss, but a person may also experience behavioral changes over time.
As part of a persons treatment, a doctor or nutritionist will likely prescribe or recommend taking a combination of vitamin and mineral supplements. High dosages of these nutrients can help prevent malnutrition.
Cut Back On The Amount Of Oil You Use
We know it can be tricky to make certain foods without any oil. Foods like potatoes just dry out and stick to the pan when you skip the oil setting the tone for a thoroughly disappointing meal. Try using these tips to ease away from oil:
- Measure your oil rather than dumping into the pan as you go. An excellent way to measure oils is one teaspoon per serving.
- If youre preparing vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, try steaming them to get the bulk of the cooking done and add the pre-measured oil after the fact.
- If you are cooking meat that is sticking to the pan, a small drop of water may help rather than adding more oil.
- If the recipe calls for oil as a greasing agent, use a non-stick cooking spray and wipe off excess fat with a paper towel.
- Long story short, avoid using oil unless necessary.
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Plenty Of Fruits And Vegetables
Try to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This will ensure that vitamin and mineral needs are being met. They also contain antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other beneficial compounds to fight inflammation. Fruits and vegetables also contain fiber, which will help keep to control spikes in blood sugar.
Diet Dos And Donts After Pancreatitis
The pancreas isnt one of the most glamorous organs of the body, like the heart or lungs. It isnt one of the unneeded organs either, like the appendix or a kidney. You dont see it or feel it every day of your life, and most people do not know what it does. But it is actually more important for your health than you could ever imagine.
The main role of the pancreas is to secrete hormones like insulin and other enzymes that are involved in food digestion more specifically sugars, says Dr. Erick Alayo, a Sharp-affiliated gastroenterologist for Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. When the pancreas becomes inflamed causing pancreatitis, it can cause severe symptoms and even be life-threatening.
According to the National Pancreas Foundation, there are more than 300,000 hospital admissions each year for acute pancreatitis. Despite great advances in critical care medicine over the past 20 years, the mortality rate of acute pancreatitis has remained at about 10 percent of cases.
How do you get pancreatitis?Some patients develop pancreatitis with no clear cause or connection to any other disease, says Dr. Alayo. The most common factors for pancreatitis are smoking and heavy alcohol use, medication side effects, autoimmune disease, high triglycerides and trouble with gallstones.
Dr. Alayo suggests that patients recovering from acute pancreatitis start with clear liquids only, such as broth or gelatin. If the body tolerates that well, patients can add other foods.
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Best And Worst Foods For Pancreatitis Pain
Your pancreas plays a vital role in helping turn the food you eat into energy. It produces and secretes the enzymes your digestive system uses to break down food for absorption, as well as the hormone insulin that helps transport glucose from your blood into your cells.
When your pancreas is inflamed, medically called pancreatitis, you may find eating almost unbearable because of the pain that follows. Though the best and worst foods for pancreatitis may depend on the type of pancreatitis you have, not eating at all may ultimately worsen your condition and your health.
Our pancreatitis specialists at GastroMed in Miami, Florida want to share the best and worst foods for your pancreatitis pain.
Though its not clear why, pancreatitis is on the rise in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. As previously noted, your pancreas produces and secretes enzymes that help you digest food. If the enzymes are activated while still in the pancreas, they damage the tissue, causing inflammation and pain.
Pancreatitis is divided into two types:
Acute pancreatitis is the more common type and is increasing in frequency in the US. With acute pancreatitis, the inflammation and associated pain come on suddenly and resolve after several days of medical treatment.
Best foods for pancreatitis pain
Fruits and vegetables
Greasy Fare And Fried Foods
Like red and organ meats, as well as pork, greasy foods can also lead to pancreatitis attacks. It may seem obvious, but if youre dealing with an episode or a chronic condition, youll want to avoid foods like potato chips, mayonnaise and anything fried.
Even healthy fats like olive oil or that hint of butter on your bread can trigger those dreaded excess enzymes making it a little tricky to navigate dining out or eating in. Below, weve included a guide to fats to make things a little easier. Dont be discouraged if it feels like everything has fat weve added a few tips below for keeping your diet on track for optimal pancreatic health.
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Avoid Alcohol When You Have Pancreatic Troubles
We know societal pressures from innocuous get-togethers with friends to networking events make it difficult to go alcohol-free. But those with pancreas issues would do much better without the stuff, and heres why.
If you drink alcohol on a regular basis, you run the risk of developing pancreatitis, a painful condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. Over time, binge drinking can contribute to both chronic and acute pancreatitis, and may even cause permanent damage to the organ if youre not careful.
With acute pancreatitis, scientists currently dont have a clear picture as to why alcohol is linked to this condition but they have established that there is a connection. One theory thats been circulating is that alcohol contains a type of molecule that may interfere with pancreatic cells, preventing them from doing their job correctly and inhibiting the production of the enzymes needed to digest fats and oils properly.
Whatever the cause, there is a definite link between acute pancreatitis and alcohol consumption, second only to gallstones. While acute pancreatitis may be treated at the hospital, and its often a one-time occurrence, continued alcohol abuse can lead to more bouts of the condition. And if youve gotten acute pancreatitis several times, you run the risk of developing the chronic version of the condition.
If you have chronic pancreatitis, the best road to better health is to stop drinking:
Diet Tips For Diabetes
- Portion control is important. Follow the healthy plate method of 1/4th starches, 1/4th protein, and half non-starchy vegetables.
- Limit sugar-sweetened beverages. It is best to only drink beverages with zero grams of sugar, except for low-fat milk.
- Understand carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the primary nutrient that affects blood glucose. Carbs do not need to be eliminated, but simple eaten in controlled quantities. For those counting, carbohydrates aim for 45g per meal.
- Weight loss. If you have weight to lose, losing just 5% will significantly improve blood sugars.
- Make it a Lifestyle change. With any diet, make sure to start small and make one realistic change at a time.
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Track Your Food Intake To Identify Triggers
If you have pancreas issues or have in the past, its a good idea to jot down your habits on a daily basis. Write down what you eat and how often, and document any changes you notice during the day. While the food diary may be a little annoying, its a great tool for keeping you personally accountable when it comes to your diet.
From there, you can make sure you avoid foods that aggravate your condition. A bout of acute pancreatitis is characterized by:
- An increased heart rate
- A deep boring sensation in the abdomen
Its a good idea to avoid any items that cause pain or flare-ups for at least two weeks. Obviously, anything more severe warrants a visit to the doctor.
Pancreatitis Diet Foods To Eat
Here are the foods you can consume if you are suffering from pancreatitis:
- Veggies Spinach, cauliflower, sweet potato, scallions, carrot, beetroot, and cucumber.
- Fruits Cherries, blueberries, peeled apple, and pineapple.
- MCTs Coconut, coconut oil, yogurt, and milk.
- Protein Lentils, beans, and lean meat.
- Whole grains Barley, oats, and white rice.
- Beverages Water, strained fruit juice, coconut water, and buttermilk.
- Condiments Chickpea and green peas hummus.
Note: If you have chronic pancreatitis, you may not be allowed to consume beans and whole grains. Your doctor/dietitian will advise you on your food intake depending on the severity of the condition.
Now, lets take a look at the foods you should avoid.
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Foods To Avoid With Pancreatitis
Your doctor may recommend a low-fat diet after an episode of pancreatitis, especially if you have impaired digestion of fat. This will involve limiting or avoiding foods such as:
- Sausages, heavily-marbled beef, pork and lamb, poultry with skin, or processed lunch meats such as bologna or salami
- Cheese, regular-fat milk or yogurt
- Fried and breaded foods, such as breaded chicken or fish or french fries
- Doughnuts, high-fat crackers, snack chips or croissants
- Ice cream, cheesecake, pies and other high-fat desserts
- Sour cream, butter, margarine, vegetable oils, shortening and full-fat salad dressings
- Nuts, peanut butter, avocado
Since alcohol use is a common cause of pancreatitis, your doctor will also advise that you strictly limit or avoid alcoholic beverages.
What To Eat If You Have Pancreatitis
To get your pancreas healthy, focus on foods that are rich in protein, low in animal fats, and contain antioxidants. Try lean meats, beans and lentils, clear soups, and dairy alternatives . Your pancreas wont have to work as hard to process these.
Research suggests that some people with pancreatitis can tolerate up to 30 to 40% of calories from fat when its from whole-food plant sources or medium-chain triglycerides . Others do better with much lower fat intake, such as 50 grams or less per day.
Spinach, blueberries, cherries, and whole grains can work to protect your digestion and fight the free radicals that damage your organs.
If youre craving something sweet, reach for fruit instead of added sugars since those with pancreatitis are at high risk for diabetes.
Consider cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and hummus, and fruit as your go-to snacks. Your pancreas will thank you.
- pastries and desserts with added sugars
- beverages with added sugars
If youre trying to combat pancreatitis, avoid trans-fatty acids in your diet.
Fried or heavily processed foods, like french fries and fast-food hamburgers, are some of the worst offenders. Organ meats, full-fat dairy, potato chips, and mayonnaise also top the list of foods to limit.
Cooked or deep-fried foods might trigger a flare-up of pancreatitis. Youll also want to cut back on the refined flour found in cakes, pastries, and cookies. These foods can tax the digestive system by causing your insulin levels to spike.
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Why These Foods Should Be Avoided
Pancreatitis occurs when your body cant generate sufficient digestive enzymes to absorb nutrients in your food. Eating plenty of pancreas-friendly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains lifts the pressure on this vital organ.
Such foods also limit your cholesterol intake, reducing your risk of gallstones, a leading cause of acute pancreatitis. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as pecans and strawberries, combat free radicals and help reduce pancreatic inflammation.
How often and how much you eat is also an important consideration. Doctors treating chronic pancreatitis generally recommend several light meals or snacks per day, rather than two or three heavy meals. Note that foods that irritate the pancreas also tend to be bad for your heart, blood sugar, digestion, and sleep.
Fairview ADC educates and nudges clients with abdominal inflammation or pain to avoid foods that are not good for your health. Contact us for more information about our center for adults and seniors and the services we offer.
This article is for educational and informational purpose only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. For any questions about your own health condition, speak to a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
Other Tips For Managing Epi
In addition to dietary changes and supplements, the main treatment for EPI is pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy . PERT works by replacing the defective or insufficient enzymes that the pancreas typically supplies. A person needs to take PERT with each meal to help aid digestion.
People living with EPI and those at increased risk of developing the condition should also avoid smoking. According to a , smoking is an independent risk factor for developing EPI.
Some other tips that a person can follow to help manage EPI include:
- finding or creating a support group to help with implementing and adhering to dietary changes
- exercising regularly
- keeping track of what foods work best to manage symptoms
- drinking minimal amounts of fluid with meals and then hydrating about 2030 minutes after the meal
- eating frequent, smaller meals throughout the day
- making sure to take the correct dosage of medication before each meal
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