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Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is a painful condition that can be triggered by many different factors. Those who suffer from pancreatitis find it necessary to change their eating habits to stay healthy and prevent the development of diabetes. Here are a few dieting tips from the experts at the Mayo Clinic on how to have a healthy and successful recovery from pancreatitis 1.
Stop Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
The first two recommendations from the Mayo Clinic are to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, as these are both common causes of pancreatitis and aggravate the condition 12. If you feel that you need help in stopping either of these behaviors, talk to your doctor for recommendations. There are numerous support groups out there, both in the community and online, that can provide that much-needed boost while you're taking those difficult steps. Certain medicines may be able to assist you in quitting as well.
- The first two recommendations from the Mayo Clinic are to stop smoking and drinking alcohol, as these are both common causes of pancreatitis and aggravate the condition 1.
- There are numerous support groups out there, both in the community and online, that can provide that much-needed boost while you're taking those difficult steps.
Choose Foods That Are Low in Fat
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The Mayo Clinic suggests that your diet be one that is low in fat, made up mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. Spinach, blueberries and red grapes are three foods that have been discovered to be most helpful due to their high levels of iron, B vitamins and antioxidants.
Some have found that replacing meat with tofu is a great way to get the necessary protein. In any case, avoid red meats as they are high in fat, as well as sausage, bacon and other high-fat meats. Turkey, chicken, fish and pork are some low-fat alternatives.
Many pancreatitis sufferers have also found that they can't eat most dairy products, due to the high fat content. This includes cheese, butter, cream and milk. Yogurt, on the other hand, can be very helpful if you eat the variety containing live active cultures, or probiotics, which aid in digestion and will help to keep the inflammation of your pancreas down.
- The Mayo Clinic suggests that your diet be one that is low in fat, made up mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.
- Spinach, blueberries and red grapes are three foods that have been discovered to be most helpful due to their high levels of iron, B vitamins and antioxidants.
Drink Plenty of Water
Those with pancreatitis have a tendency to become dehydrated easily, so make sure you're drinking water throughout the day. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, your fluid intake should range between two and three liters daily, depending on your health and whether you're male or female. Their general rule of thumb is as follows: "if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate."
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- Mayo Clinic Website on Pancreatitis
- Mayo Clinic Website on Drinking Water
- Seven Best Foods for Pancreatitis Diet
- Spanier BWM, Dijkgraaf MGW, Bruno MJ. Epidemiology, aetiology and outcome of acute and chronic pancreatitis: An update. Best practice & research Clinical gastroenterology. 2008;22(1):45-63. doi:10.1016/j.bpg.2007.10.007
- Rasmussen HH. Nutrition in chronic pancreatitis. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;19(42):7267. doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i42.7267
- Clinical practice guideline: management of acute pancreatitis – Canadian Journal of Surgery. Canjsurg.ca. http://canjsurg.ca/vol59-issue2/59-2-128/. Published 2016.
- Castiñeira-Alvariño M, Lindkvist B, Luaces-Regueira M, et al. The role of high fat diet in the development of complications of chronic pancreatitis. Clinical Nutrition. 2013;32(5):830-836. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2013.02.002
- Conwell, Darwin L., et al. American Pancreatic Association Practice Guidelines in Chronic Pancreatitis. Pancreas, vol. 43, no. 8, Nov. 2014, pp. 1143–1162, doi:10.1097/mpa.0000000000000237
- Duggan, S, Conlon, K. A Practical Guide to the Nutritional Management of Chronic Pancreatitis. Practical Gastroenterology. June 2013; 118: 24-32.
- Singh, Siddharth, et al. Dietary Counseling Versus Dietary Supplements for Malnutrition in Chronic Pancreatitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 6, no. 3, Mar. 2008, pp. 353–359, doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2007.12.040
- Vonlaufen, Alain, et al. Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatitis: Current Opinion. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, vol. 23, no. 9, Sept. 2008, pp. 1339–1348, doi:10.1111/j.1440-1746.2008.05520.x
- Yadav D, Lowenfels A. The Epidemiology of Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer. Gastroenterology. 2013;144(6):1252-1261. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.01.068
Sarah Jackson has been writing freelance for almost four years, the majority of her work being featured on Adventure Journey, an online travel publication. She is currently in her final year of her M.S.W. degree at Temple University, with a B.S. degree from BYU.