Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, a vital organ that provides essential enzymes for digestion and provides insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. When the pancreas is inflamed, the body cannot absorb all the nutrients it needs, leading to potentially serious physical problems. Pancreatitis flare-ups can be controlled by eating certain foods and generally consuming a healthy diet low in fat.
Doctors recommend a diet rich in antioxidants for those who suffer from chronic pancreatitis. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, antioxidants help reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the by-products of metabolism that harm the body's cells and contribute to pancreatitis. Low levels of antioxidants make a person more likely to develop the condition. Recommended antioxidant-rich foods include blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale, tomatoes, pomegranates, squash and bell peppers. Red wine contains an important antioxidant called resveratol and one or two glasses a day is recommended as long as the alcohol doesn't aggravate the condition.
Low Fat Foods
Foods with high fat content can exacerbate the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis, so it's best to avoid them. Low fat, high protein foods, however, are ideal for the treatment of pancreatitis. Tofu is an excellent substitute for red meat and other high fat foods. Try to introduce fish into your diet as well. Beans are another good source of protein that contain low levels of fat. When cooking, use healthy, low fat cooking oils like olive and vegetable oil.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are known to decrease inflammation and boost the immune system. Fish such as salmon or mackerel are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. There are a number of good plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids, including soya beans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, soya bean oil, canola and flax seeds. If you have trouble working these foods into your diet, there are many omega 3 fatty acid supplements available on the market.
Other Recommended Foods
One of the most commonly recommended foods for pancreatitis sufferers is red reishi mushrooms. Used extensively for medical purposes throughout Asia, this mushroom helps to regulate the system and reduce inflammation. Yoghurt is also recommended because it contains probiotics, living bacteria cultures that bolster the immune system and help with digestion. Caffeine-free green tea is a great alternative to coffee and also contains antioxidants.
Foods To Avoid
In general, people who suffer from chronic panreatitis should avoid foods with high fat content and also harmful chemical stimulants. Cookies, French fries, doughnuts, cakes, onion rings, crackers, chips, margarine and other processed foods contain high levels of trans-fatty acids and should be strictly avoided. Red meat contains lots of fat as well. Sufferers of pancreatitis should stay away from stimulants like coffee, cigarettes and alcohol as these increase abdominal pain and aggravate the pancreas.