The pancreas is a pretty vital organ, it creates enzymes - which aid in the digestion of food, and insulin - which controls the blood sugar level. Located just behind the stomach, it is vital to keep this important gland healthy to help prevent pancreatitis [acute or chronic inflammation] as pancreatitis can cause mild to severe damage to the pancreas, which in turn prevents the correct enzymes/insulin from being produced, thus stopping the nutrients the body needs from being absorbed.
Acute/chronic pancreatitis explained
Acute pancreatitis is sudden and severe [can cause tissue damage and bleeding], lasting for days and generally never returns if treated correctly. Commonly caused by gallstones, mild cases of this condition can be eased and cured with the correct diet.
Whereas chronic pancreatitis can be severe, last for days and reoccur at will - even with the correct medical treatment. This type of inflammation can cause severe tissue damage and bleeding in and around the organ [causing abscesses, cyst-like pockets and inflammation which spreads quickly]. Usually caused by excessive intake of alcohol, the long term damage cannot be helped with a diet change - the diet is changed to increase antioxidants and assist with nutrition [in a attempt to help with enzyme and insulin production]. Long term damage to the pancreas can lead to diabetes, malnutrition and necrotizing pancreatitis [death of the pancreatic tissue]. Other side effects if not treated properly are the increase in toxins which could pass/leak through the abdomen, damaged blood vessels and cause internal bleeding.
There are other causes like abdominal injuries, surgery, cancer, smoking, etc to name but a few.
Signs an symptoms include - mild to severe pain in the upper abdomen [which can radiate to the back or chest], fevers, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, increased pulse rate, indigestion, foul smelling stools and the unnatural loss of weight.
The importance of this diet
Due to the fact that the pancreas plays such an important part in the digestion of our food, we need to ensure that we consume enough antioxidants [Vitamin A, C and E, Carotenoids and Selenium], this is to prevent the oxidants that build up due to our daily consumption of foods from stressing or damaging the pancreas.
We also need to consume more of the following
Vegetables - made into soup this should be tomato based with no meat, not only is it rich in antioxidants [which help ensure a healthy pancreas] but the fluids in the soup are also important in our daily fluid intake.
Spinach - added to the soup above or eaten alone, this is a excellent veggie and can be bu used in a salad or as a side dish to increase the intake of antioxidants.
Yogurt - full of probiotics which help the body with its immunity, this can prevent inflammation of the pancreas and the bacteria found in this food can keep the digestive system balanced.
Tofu - a good substitute for protein as meat should be eliminated from your diet due to the fact that high levels of fat in the blood can lead to increased attacks of pancreatitis [chronic sufferers need to pay close attention to this]
Red wine or grapes - these two contain a very important antioxidant called resveratrol [do not peel the grapes as this is where the antioxidant resides]. The grapes are mentioned for the patient who cannot drink alcohol due to the fact that it irritates the pre-existing condition.
Other beneficial foods to increase in your diet:
red reishi mushrooms
and soy products
Herbs and spices recommended for this diet [consult a herbalist if you are interested in more information and the effects of these] - ginger, ginseng, cinnamon bark, licorice root, peony root and Indian gooseberry.
Basic guidelines for this diet:
Eat small portions more often [remember - less than 40 g of fat daily] - this helps with your digestion and can ease your symptoms.
Avoid: caffeine, tobacco, spicy food, cheese, butter, fired foods, pizza, beans and beer. Basically avoid any type of food that is fatty or can cause gas to build up in the stomach.
Start taking a multi-vitamin supplement [must contain selenium, magnesium and the vitamins A, C, E and B12] as many patients with pancreatitis tend to have a deficiency of the before mentioned nutrients.
Never ignore symptoms of problems with your pancreas - go to a doctor for more specialized treatment, this diet is not a cure but more a guideline on how to control pancreatitis and thus assist your pancreas in preventing further damage.
Candice is a full time author and loves to write about her interests. These include a variety of diets, be it for weight loss or for the benefit of ones health she puts pen to paper. She also loves shopping, bowling, beading, dabbles in the forex market and enjoys internet marketing. You can visit her at 22 Inch Rims to find the 22 Inch rims you have always wanted.