The pancreas is a digestive gland that produces digestion assisting enzymes and hormones that aid metabolization of sugar. When the pancreas inflames, you have a condition known as pancreatitis. Depending on the severity of your pancreatitis, you may require hospitalisation and surgery to treat any underlying conditions that contributed to your pancreatitis. Once you recover from the immediate effects of pancreatitis, adopt a low-fat, antioxidant rich diet to prevent future flare-ups or pancreatitis development in the first place.
Antioxidant Food Sources
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, antioxidants may provide protection against pancreatitis and may also reduce symptoms such as abdominal pain. Foods high in antioxidants include tomatoes, blueberries, pomegranates and squash. For breakfast, eat a bowl of yoghurt with fresh blueberries and cherries. Then for lunch eat salads full of dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale or spinach, topped with pomegranates and tomatoes. For dinner, cook brown rice and small red beans, which are extremely high in antioxidants. Drink plenty of green tea throughout the day to help further relieve symptoms and prevent pancreatitis flare-ups.
Omega 3 Food Sources
Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce some of the inflammation you experience due to pancreasitis. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many fish (such as salmon), nuts and flax seed. Add grilled salmon or mackerel to your antioxidant-rich salad or atop red beans and rice for dinner. Snack on sardines or anchovies, both full of Omega-3's throughout the day. Also snack on nuts, especially walnuts and almonds. Another dinner option is a lean piece of bison or chicken--lean meats also help ease/prevent pancreatitis--that are seasoned with Omega-3-rich cloves. Other foods high Omega-3's include grape leaves, Chinese broccoli and basil.
Refined Foods and Fats
As you increase the amount of antioxidants and Omega-3's in your diet, opt for healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats over saturated or trans fats. Olive oil, canola and peanut oil all contain high levels of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Cook your salmon or lean meats in these "good" oils to further protect you from pancreatitis and to help alleviate symptoms. Also avoid processed meats and refined grains, such as those found in white bread, pasta and sugar. Refined foods may exacerbate pancreatitis symptoms or lead to a flare-up.
One of the side effects of pancreatitis is dehydration. If you already suffer from pancreatitis, increase your daily water intake to six to eight glasses daily. Adequate hydration may also lessen inflammation and prevent flare-ups. As you increase your water intake, do not also increase caffeine or alcohol intake as both can dehydrate you. In addition to water, drink juices rich in antioxidants, such as pomegranate juice, V8 and antioxidant-rich fruit smoothies.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, excessive alcohol consumption is one of the leading factors that contributes to pancreatitis. If you already have pancreatitis and drink, scale back your drinking considerably. Although too much alcohol leads to pancreatitis, a moderate amount of red wine with your food may decrease your chances of developing pancreatitis. Red wine contains the powerful antioxidant/flavonoid resveratrol. Just as food antioxidants may help with pancreatitis, so may antioxidants found in red wine. Note that moderate alcohol consumption is no more than one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men.