Do you eat to live or live to eat?
We may fall into the latter category, but we here at Zoppler know that food is about more than just fueling the body. Proper nutrition holds the potential to heal, working to help prevent the development of various medical conditions as well as alleviating symptoms associated with such ailments.
Today, we’re discussing pancreatitis, what it is, how nutrition may help or hinder us in getting pancreatitis relief, and more. Read on!
What is Pancreatitis and Why Does the Types of Food You Eat Matter?
So, anatomy 101— your pancreas works hard to help you digest those tasty foods you’ve been noshing on all day every day, as well as regulating your blood sugar so you stay even-keeled.
Pancreatitis is a medical condition that happens when your poor pancreas becomes inflamed. Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Severe belly pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Swelling, soreness, or tenderness in your upper belly
- Fluid buildup in your belly
- Lowered blood pressure
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
The types of food you regularly shove down your gullet plays a major role in the development and severity of pancreatitis. Typically, healthcare professionals and certified nutritionists recommend a low-fat diet to reduce the pancreas’ workload and, in turn, reduce swelling.
Proper dietary choices, along with medical treatment, play a crucial role in managing pancreatitis and improving the overall quality of life for individuals affected by it.
Pancreatitis and Diet
The role of nutrition in maintaining health and preventing certain diseases and medical conditions is well-documented. So, those suffering from pancreatitis or at risk for developing acute or chronic pancreatitis may benefit from implementing a rigorous diet that focuses on eating low-fat foods while limiting carbohydrates, high-sugar or processed foods, and alcohol.
That may sound like a tall order if you’re not naturally nutritionally-inclined, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Your doctor should provide ample information on how to manage symptoms through proper nutrition. You may also consider working with a certified nutritionist who is familiar with the unique nutritional demands of someone suffering from pancreatitis.
And, of course, your pals here at Zoppler have you covered with a quick crash course on the topic, including a 7 day meal plan for pancreatitis.
How to Construct the Perfect 7 Day Meal Plan for Pancreatitis
The pancreatitis diet focuses on providing essential nutrients while avoiding triggers that may exacerbate pancreatitis symptoms.
We’re going to include a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, to make sure we check all our boxes and get the most bang for our buck. For the best results, we’re also recommending you limit or abstain from alcohol and processed foods that could irritate the pancreas and aggravate the situation.
Healthiest Foods for the Pancreas
Alright, so what exactly should you pick up from the grocery store to manage your pancreatitis and support good pancreas health? Here’s our pancreatitis diet food list:
- Lean Proteins: Boneless, skinless chicken breast, fish, tofu, legumes
- Whole Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, oats
- Healthy Fats: Avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds
- Fruits: Berries, apples, bananas
- Vegetables: Leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes
- Low-Fat Dairy: Greek yogurt, low-fat milk
- Hydration: Water, herbal teas
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Turmeric, ginger, garlic
These are some of the best foods to eat with pancreatitis, but they’re not necessarily your only choices. Consult a certified nutritionist or dietitian for even more ideas to add more to your pancreatitis menu plan.
Foods to Avoid With Pancreatitis
What you eat is only half of the battle, as what you don’t eat can be equally important. Here’s a list of foods to avoid with pancreatitis:
- High-Fat Foods: Fried foods, fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products
- Processed Foods: Sugary snacks and desserts, foods with added sugars, sugary drinks like fruit juice and soda
- Spicy Foods: Spices, hot peppers, hot sauce
- Alcohol: All forms of alcohol should be avoided
- Caffeine: Limit coffee and caffeinated beverages
Additionally, high-fiber foods may be difficult to digest during acute episodes. If you’re feeling fine, feel free to up the fiber intake, but err on the side of caution when you’re feeling anything less than your best. Acidic fruits may be detrimental in this regard as well.
Meal Plan Products and Supplements to Help
2. Pancreatin 2000
Is There a Cure for Pancreatitis?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for pancreatitis. That’s what makes our topic today so important, as our list contains the foods to eat to avoid pancreatitis and maintain good health.
Acute pancreatitis often requires hospitalization, where a medical team will provide pain management and intravenous fluids. Chronic pancreatitis also requires treatment, usually through lifestyle changes like adopting a pancreas-friendly diet and avoiding alcohol.
Surgery is sometimes considered to address complications or remove damaged portions of the pancreas.
Ultimately, your treatment options and their effectiveness will vary depending on personal factors. Only your doctor can accurately determine your best options.
Other Ways to Relieve Pancreatitis Symptoms Outside of Diet
Adopting a diet that promotes pancreas health is a great step in relieving pancreatitis symptoms, but that’s not the only thing you can do to manage.
Some doctors prescribe medication, including pain relievers and digestive enzymes, to help a patient manage symptoms, support digestion, and generally live a life with minimal or no pain caused by pancreatitis.
Alcohol, as we covered above, may exacerbate symptoms, so abstaining is key. Smoking certainly doesn’t do the pancreas any favors either, so a pancreatitis diagnosis may serve as the much-needed impetus for someone to finally quit smoking.
It’s not easy, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including weight management, exercising, and eating right, stand a chance to positively impact pancreatitis symptoms and provide relief.
Can a Bad Diet Cause Pancreatitis?
Yes, a poor diet can contribute to the development of pancreatitis.
Eating a diet loaded with saturated fats can lead to the formation of gallstones, which are a common cause of acute pancreatitis. Alcohol abuse is also a significant contributor to both acute and chronic pancreatitis.
So, beyond regular health purposes, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet to reduce your risk of developing pancreatitis and promote overall pancreatic health.
What is the Whipple Procedure?
A pancreaticoduodenectomy, named the “Whipple procedure” after the surgeon who pioneered the technique, involves removing the head of the pancreas, a portion of the duodenum, the gallbladder, and part of the common bile duct. The remaining organs are then reconstructed to allow for continued digestion and bile flow.
Advancements over the past few years have rendered the procedure safer, but the Whipple procedure is considered a major surgery and comes with many risks. It is usually not discussed unless a patient is facing life-threatening circumstances or grave diagnoses such as cancer.
Proper Diet to Follow After a Whipple Procedure
As a serious surgery, postoperative care is crucial in maximizing your recovery.
Diet after a Whipple procedure plays a major role, as patients will first be tasked with gradually reintroducing liquids and soft foods before progressing towards a standard diet.
Once digestion begins to normalize, the post Whipple diet is quite similar to the one described above for managing pancreatitis symptoms. Choose lean proteins, easily digestible carbs, and low-fat foods to keep the stress on your digestive system at a minimum.
By eating the best food for pancreatitis, you should recover in due time and with minimal complications. Of course, follow all recommendations of your doctor and care team.
Sample 7 Day Meal Plan for Pancreatitis
As we’ve previously mentioned a few times, please consult your doctor, dietician or certified nutritionist before adopting any new diet, however, here’s is a sample 7 day menu to help with pancreatitis and live a healthy lifestyle
Breakfast: Oatmeal with mashed banana
Snack: Low-fat yogurt
Lunch: Baked chicken breast with steamed carrots and quinoa
Snack: Apple slices with nut butter
Dinner: Grilled fish with sweet potato and green beans
Breakfast: Whole grain toast with a small amount of almond butter
Snack: Greek yogurt with berries
Lunch: Turkey and vegetable wrap with whole wheat tortilla
Snack: Hummus with cucumber slices
Dinner: Baked salmon with brown rice and steamed broccoli
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and whole grain toast
Snack: Cottage cheese with pineapple chunks
Lunch: Quinoa salad with mixed vegetables and grilled chicken
Snack: Banana with a handful of almonds
Dinner: Stir-fried tofu with brown rice and asparagus
Breakfast: Smoothie with berries, spinach, and low-fat yogurt
Snack: Sliced pear with cottage cheese
Lunch: Lentil soup with whole grain crackers
Snack: Carrot sticks with hummus
Dinner: Grilled shrimp with quinoa and roasted Brussels sprouts
Breakfast: Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk
Snack: Apple slices with a small amount of cheese
Lunch: Baked chicken with sweet potato and green salad
Snack: Greek yogurt with honey
Dinner: Turkey meatballs with whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms and whole grain toast
Snack: Handful of walnuts with dried cranberries
Lunch: Chickpea salad with mixed vegetables and olive oil dressing
Snack: Orange slices with cottage cheese
Dinner: Baked cod with quinoa and roasted zucchini
Breakfast: Whole grain pancakes with fresh berries
Snack: Celery sticks with peanut butter
Lunch: Grilled vegetable and chicken kebabs with brown rice
Snack: Mixed fruit salad
Dinner: Vegetable stir-fry with tofu and brown rice
Remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day
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