Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the lining of the pancreas, which is an organ that helps the body absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. Acid reflux occurs when the valve located at the end of the esophagus does not completely close the entrance to the stomach. As a result, stomach acid and food leak into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. Both conditions can be painful and debilitating, depending on the severity of the inflammation. Fortunately, fundamental changes in your diet can relieve the symptoms of both pancreatitis and acid reflux.
Give up caffeine. Limit or avoid beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee and soft drinks. According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, these types of beverages can cause additional irritation of the pancreas and esophagus. Alternatively, drink between 48 oz. and 64 oz. of water every day but limit the amount of liquid you drink with a meal. This allows your stomach to utilize its acid to digest foods most effectively. In addition, UPSM advises that you remain in an upright position for two hours following a meal, to reduce the chances of acid reflux.
Eat whole foods. Replace highly processed foods in your diet with fiber and nutrient-rich foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain products. If you have pancreatitis, focus on consuming leafy dark green vegetables and seaweed, which are good sources of iron and B vitamins. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, eating foods high in these nutrients can help reduce the risk of inflammation and can relieve symptoms of pancreatitis. Foods that are high in fiber are important to aid the digestive process and can help keep your digestive system work optimally.
Use healthy fats. Avoid rich, high fat foods, and don't eat foods that contain trans-fatty acids, usually labeled as hydrogenated fats. Foods that are high in fat, according to the UPSM, are associated with acid reflux and the University of Maryland Medical Center adds that these foods can increase the risk or severity of symptoms of pancreatitis. Focus instead on using healthy fats such as olive or vegetable oil for cooking or baking. Consume fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week. Omega-3 fatty acids help to relieve inflammation and improve your immunity, reducing and preventing pancreatitis.
Cut out red meat. Reduce or eliminate your consumption of red meat and instead eat lean proteins such as skinless white-meat poultry; beans; tofu; and coldwater, low-fat fish. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, red meat can aggravate the inflammation associated with pancreatitis. Individuals with acid reflux derive benefit from eating lower-fat proteins because they help reduce excess weight. UPSM advises that individuals experiencing acid reflux can relieve many of their symptoms by maintaining a healthy weight.
Eat several meals a day, rather than three large ones. This helps your body digest smaller amounts of food at a time, decreasing the possibility of excess stomach acid that can irritate inflamed digestive tissues.
Consult your doctor before making significant dietary changes.