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Living with Pancreatitis
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Make sure to eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables for well-rounded nourishment.

Pancreatitis is a daily aggravation for many people. The pancreas is a gland responsible for releasing many enzymes necessary for digestion, especially fats and proteins. When its inflamed, these enzymes basically “digest” the gland itself, and it hurts a lot when we eat. How do we manage it on a daily basis? By simply knowing some basic guidelines, you can take considerable measures for dealing with Pancreatitis.

First and foremost, know what you can consume and what you can’t. Most of this may seem like common sense – especially after the meal – but a little awareness goes a long way. Stick to a diet low in fats and simple carbohydrates. The enzymes that the pancreas produces are specific for digesting protein, oils and fats. Simple carbohydrates are foods that quickly metabolize into sugar and tax your pancreas to produce insulin. If you can avoid the refined foods and fried delicacies, you’ll probably be better off. Never eat until you’re full. Eat as often as you like, but eating smaller meals creates a lighter load on your pancreas, making it an all around smoother move for digestion. When the pancreas is inflamed, it might be easier to avoid solid foods altogether.

A colorful variation of fruits and vegetables are essential for well-rounded nourishment. Eat a rainbow every day; a good way to do this is to mix them, blend them, juice them or cook them as a delicious soup.

Avoid overly spicy foods. Unless the spices have anti-inflammatory properties, they could instigate an attack. Also, refrain from consuming any alcohol and tobacco. Both of them, especially combined, can increase the risk of an inflammatory response.

Drink plenty of water. Being sufficiently hydrated at all times can prevent pain since dehydration can actually be the source of inflammation. Carry a bottle of water with you to drink from frequently.

Everybody knows that too much stress is bad, but did you know that stress can provoke an inflammatory response in your pancreas? Indeed. Its another good reason to relax, take time to eat your meals and get plenty of sleep. A lack of these simple things can really stress a person out.

Take advantage of the sunshine. By soaking up more sunlight and the subsequent vitamin D, you can prevent inflammation, depression and even pancreatic cancer. Overall, relief from sunshine will help lower your stress levels, too.

Lastly, incorporate herbs into your diet and drink tea every day. Ginger and turmeric are excellent for their anti-inflammatory qualities, and they can be found in most grocery stores. They can be cooked with food or made into a tea for consistent relief. Some other effective herbs for helping to sooth Pancreatitis are chamomile, peppermint, aloe vera, marshmallow root, licorice and the lesser known chaga fungus. Chaga has been used for thousands of years in Siberia for it’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and pain relieving agents; chaga could very well become your pancreas’s best friend for this.

Let’s sum this up: Be aware of what and how much you eat, drink plenty of water, enjoy the sunlight, avoid stress, use herbs and cultivate a daily tea habit. Taking these measures may ensure the quality of your life. Often, it is the simpler precautions that make things easier, instead of frequently dealing with the aftermath.

© 2013 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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