The pancreas is very important for our health. It is important to keep pancreas health levels at maximum and it can be done naturally by just eating healthy food. What is the best pancreas diet? One question that we will try to answer, here.
Your pancreas may be the less glamorous cousin of organs like the heart and lungs. Yet it quietly goes about its job, keeping your digestive juices flowing and regulating the body’s glucose levels by producing insulin.
It plays twin roles, working in both the endocrine system and the digestive system, so when your pancreas is in trouble, you may experience a range of problems from abdominal pain to diarrhea, vomiting, malnutrition, and even diabetes.
Thankfully, the right foods in your diet can go a long way in healing your pancreas and restoring your health.
Keep in mind, though, that while the foods listed here can have a restorative and soothing effect on your pancreas, these are not a substitute for medical opinion or medication prescribed by your doctor.
What’s Good For Your Pancreas?
Before getting into what you should be eating, it helps to know what to limit in your diet.
The National Pancreas Foundation recommends a low-fat diet, with no more than 20 gm of fat per day and no more than 10 gm per meal.
Staying hydrated is also important, while alcohol is a strict no-no.
Lean protein sources are a good way to ensure you get the nutrients you need without the burden of the extra fat.
While helping your pancreas, you will also be doing your cardiovascular system a favor. Trim fat off your meats and eat more chicken breasts and healthy seafood like fish.
The National Pancreas Foundation suggests using fat-free chicken stock as a cheat’s way to keep the meat moist minus the extra fat.
Have Cruciferous Vegetables And Dark Leafy Greens
Cancer-fighting properties of certain cruciferous veggies like broccoli, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts make them a sensible option for your pancreas.
Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, watercress, or spinach are smart choices for healing the pancreas because of their high iron and B vitamins.
Holy basil while technically not a vegetable is a green herb that offers antioxidant protection.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Fruits And Vegetables
Antioxidant-rich foods, specifically those rich in dietary antioxidants selenium, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E, will help heal the pancreas.
As one long-term study of 23,658 participants found, the intake of these nutrients could influence your risk of developing pancreatic cancer in particular.
The ellagic acid in raspberries is both antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic and has been shown in studies to help lower the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Red grapes, blueberries, and cherries are other antioxidant-rich fruits that help the pancreas.
Vitamin C and beta-carotene rich carrots provide the body with a rich supply of antioxidants and cancer-fighting falcarinol. The polyacetylene falcarinol may even help with glucose uptake.
Alternatively, sweet potatoes pack a beta-carotene punch too, while celery can provide the body with falcarinol to ward off cancer.
Tomatoes, squash, and bell peppers are other vegetables that come recommended for pancreatitis.
Coldwater fish and fish oils are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the pancreas. Besides improving the immunity of your body so you can heal better, they also fight inflammation.
You can add this fish oil soft gels to your supplements list.
Can A Liquid Diet Heal?
Solid food takes more effort to digest, so if your pancreas is under excessive strain it might help to stick to a liquid diet for a few days. This can help ease the load on the pancreas for a day or two.
Clear liquids like broth, apple juice, cranberry juice, or white grape juice are a good idea. But remember, this is only a temporary measure since a liquid diet is lacking in other nutrients your body might need.
On a more regular basis, you could supplement your solids diet with antioxidant-rich green tea as well as these other clear liquids.
Traditional Chinese medicine suggests the use of red reishi mushrooms to cut inflammation in the body.
It also helps bring balance to your system, healing the pancreas.
Some studies have also shown the anti-tumor effect of the mushroom.
The Beta-D-glucan sugar molecule in these mushrooms stimulates the immune system, helping it respond better to foreign cells of all manner – from viruses to bacteria and even tumor cells.
In general, a sattvic diet that is low on meat and fat is best.
Sour and pungent foods, as well as fried and refined foods, are to be avoided. Drinking enough water is important to stave off the dehydrating effects of pancreatitis.
The sattvic diet is light and fresh and includes plenty of fresh vegetables like artichoke, broccoli, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, okra, as well as fruit like apples, banana, cantaloupe, grapes, and grapefruit.
Rice, millets, oats, and barley are good staples.
Lentils and beans are also considered sattvic. Fresh buttermilk or freshly squeezed juices made at home is also a good way to imbibe more liquid.
Why are these foods helpful?
Focusing on vegetables, fruits and whole grains limits your cholesterol intake and increases your fiber intake.
This reduces your risk of developing gallstones or high triglycerides, which are among the leading causes of acute pancreatitis.
Antioxidants combat the free radicals in your body, helping reduce inflammation.
Adding medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) – fats that are often derived from coconut or palm kernel oil – can also help boost your nutrient absorption in the setting of chronic pancreatitis.
Worst foods for pancreatitis
Whenever possible, stay away from fried or full-fat foods, as well as foods that are high in sugar.
Be sure to limit:
- Red meat
- Organ meat
- French fries, potato chips
- Margarine, butter
- Full-fat dairy
- Sugary drinks
Why are these foods harmful?
Your pancreas processes most of the fat you eat. So, the more you eat, the harder your pancreas works.
High-fat foods and simple sugars also increase your triglyceride levels. This boosts the amount of fat in your blood and increases your risk of acute pancreatitis.
Research also shows that processed meat and red meat increases pancreatic cancer risk.
Recovering through your diet
If you’ve suffered an acute pancreatitis episode, you can help speed your recovery with some dietary and lifestyle changes.
Try these tips:
Eat 6 to 8 small meals a day. It’s easier on your pancreas.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of MCTs to your daily diet and you can continue this if you have moderately severe or severe chronic pancreatitis.
Take a multivitamin to replenish vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, zinc and folic acid.
Limit total fat intake to less than 30 grams per day. Eliminate saturated fats.
Don’t smoke (or do your best to quit).
If your abdominal pain continues, your doctor may also refer you to a pain management specialist.
Conclusion: Add these healthy foods to your diet for better pancreas health. The pancreas is one of the most important organs in our body. By taking care of your pancreas health you are taking care of your overall health.