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Acute Pancreatitis Diet

Acute pancreatitis dietary management is an integral part of treating the condition. However, before you learn about the recommended acute pancreatitis diet plan, it is important for you to get know what this ailment is about. Acute pancreatitis can be described as a painful condition that occurs when there is an inflammation in the pancreas. The pancreas is a small organ in the digestive tract, situated behind your tummy, quite close to the opening of the small intestines. They produce the digestive enzymes, which are transported through a duct into the small intestines.

Fortunately, any inflammation occurring in the pancreas can be resolved within a short span of time. However, if the problem is not addressed immediately and in the right way, it could become chronic.

Explore more about chronic pancreatitis

When going through treatment for this condition, it is important for you to stick to the acute pancreatitis diet plan recommended by your health care provider, so that you put as little pressure on your pancreas as possible; this will help it heal faster. So, it is best for you to follow a low fat diet, where you consume no more than 20% to 25% of your daily caloric intake from fat. Fortunately, there are many low fat food options that you can go in for. Some of the foods that you should try to include in your acute pancreatitis meal plan are low fat yogurt, tofu, mushrooms, lean meat, poultry, seafood, whole grains, berries, cherries, pomegranates and bell peppers.

There are certain foods that aggravate the condition and so you need to avoid them completely while going through treatment. Some of the foods that are a part of the acute pancreatitis dietary restrictions and should be strictly avoided include trans-fat or saturated fat, alcohol and caffeine. This means that you need to stay away from junk food, fried food, refined food, bakery items, sweets, coffee, tea and chocolate. Food that stimulates the pancreas also contributes towards acute pancreatitis and so you should eliminate them from your diet completely.

To address nutritional deficiencies, you could also be asked to take acute pancreatitis dietary supplements. These usually include:

  • A daily multivitamin with antioxidant vitamins A, B complex, C, E, D and trace minerals like zinc, magnesium, selenium and calcium
  • Omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Probiotic supplements
  • Alpha lipoic acid
However, before taking any of these supplements, you need to check with your doctor for daily recommended doses.

You also need to follow a specific diet after acute pancreatitis, i.e., around 4 to 6 weeks after the condition is cured, so that your body recovers and gets back to normal at a faster pace.

Acute Pancreatitis Foods to Avoid, Eat

Almost every doctor that you consult will have his or her own list of acute pancreatitis foods that should be eaten and those that are best avoided. However, the basic guidelines for the most appropriate acute pancreatitis food habits remain more or less the same. The recommended acute pancreatitis food intake list mainly contains those items that are high in antioxidants. They help your body to fight off the free radicals that cause damage to the tissues and worsen the condition. Some of the foods that are high in antioxidants and therefore should be eaten while treating pancreatitis include soybean, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, cherries, pomegranates and berries. You may also be advised to eat foods high in protein and carbs, so that less pressure is applied on to your pancreas. Steamed poultry, chicken soup and vegetable broth are light and healthy and so you may be asked to have them regularly. All types of fluids, including fresh fruit juice (sugarless) are healthy for you.

Similarly, there is a long list of acute pancreatitis foods to avoid too, as they exacerbate the symptoms and aggravate the condition. Some of the foods that should be strictly avoided include:
  • Saturated fats found in shortening, margarine, certain oils, chips, cookies, cakes, pastries and crackers
  • Fried food and junk food
  • Refined carbs present in white bread, pasta, snacks and certain cereals
  • Sugar and sweets
  • Caffeine, present in coffee, tea and chocolate
An acute pancreatitis food allergy could also occur, if you eat the foods that do not agree with your digestive system, thereby delaying the recovery process. Therefore, you need to be careful while consuming wheat, dairy products, soy, corn, nuts or any food additives.

Several patients ask their doctor for information on acute pancreatitis and drinking. Since alcohol is one of the main causes of the condition it is absolutely essential to eliminate alcohol from your diet, in case you suspect you are suffering from pancreatitis. There are some people who believe that drinking a small amount of red wine can actually be beneficial to pancreatitis patients. However, there is no clinical evidence to back such claims up. In fact, most doctors advise patients to refrain from drinking after acute pancreatitis too. For best results, avoid drinking alcohol completely for a couple of months after suffering from acute pancreatitis, even if the condition was not caused by alcohol consumption.

Acute Pancreatitis Nutrition Care Plan

A lot of importance is given to acute pancreatitis nutrition therapy, when trying to treat the condition. Almost every single patient suffering from this problem is advised to follow a careful acute pancreatitis nutrition care plan, where they consume high amounts of food that can help their bodies recover faster and avoid those that can intensify the condition and its symptoms. Acute pancreatitis nutritional management is incomplete without taking the required vitamins and supplements, after checking with a doctor.

Acute pancreatitis nutrition concepts have gone through a considerable change in the last few years. Earlier it was believed that the pancreas had to be put at rest during the condition. This is why it people were strictly asked to avoid stimulating pancreatic secretion though enteral nutrition for acute pancreatitis. However, it is now believed that enteral nutrition for acute pancreatitis decreases mortality, even though there is no clinical evidence to support this theory.

Every doctor that you check with may give you different acute pancreatitis nutrition tips, but the basic guidelines are the same. However, you need to make sure that you do not make any changes to your existing diet, without getting an approval from your doctor.

Submitted on January 16, 2014