Home Remedies for Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis is a painful and potentially dangerous condition that affects more than half a million people each year, but there are a number of helpful home remedies, including the use of acupuncture, tofu, red grapes, reishi mushrooms, yogurt, spinach, ginseng and blueberries, along with certain lifestyle changes.
Simply defined, pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the pancreas, and often forgotten gland that lies behind the stomach, near the top of the abdominal cavity. Despite its small size, it has a few very important jobs in the body, including the production of key enzymes that aid in the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients, in addition to regulating the glucose levels in the body. This is particularly important for those at risk of or suffering from diabetes. In fact, the pancreas is where insulin is created, so the proper function and health of the pancreas is crucial. Pancreatitis occurs when those important digestive enzymes that help us absorb food become activated while still in the pancreas, causing irritation in the tissues of the gland. A number of things can cause this premature activation, such as alcoholism, infection, an excessively fatty diet, smoking, abdominal surgery/trauma, overactive thyroid glands, pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis, among other things.
The symptoms of pancreatitis are quite easy to diagnose, and impossible to ignore. Upper abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, tenderness of the abdomen and an elevated pulse are the common symptoms. While pancreatitis can be painful, the majority of cases of acute pancreatitis will go away after a few days, and there is no permanent damage done. However, in the case of chronic pancreatitis, the symptoms can also include unexplained weight loss, oily stools, and even an inability to sit down without discomfort. In cases of chronic pancreatitis, which can go on for months or years, seeing a medical professional is strongly recommended. If left untreated, pancreatitis can result in more serious complications, such as diabetes, kidney failure, infection of the pancreas, respiratory distress and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. That being said, many cases of pancreatitis can be treated naturally, with some of the home remedies outlined in more detail below.
Home Remedies for Pancreatitis
Blueberries: There are many things that can aggravate or bring about pancreatitis, and like so many other chronic conditions in the body, the presence of free radicals only makes the condition worse. One of the best free radical-fighting foods you can eat are blueberries, which are packed with antioxidants and can reduce inflammation throughout the body very rapidly. Eating a handful of blueberries every morning can lower your risk of suffering this condition.
Tofu: High blood fat levels are one of the most common causes of pancreatitis, which can be caused by eating a lot of red meat. This is a similar situation as people who suffer from gout – the “rich man’s disease”. If you cut out high-fat foods, such as red meat and unnecessary sweets, you can lower your chances of inflammation in the pancreas. However, it is still essential that you get your protein intake, so switching to tofu-based meals is a popular option for people, particularly those who suffer from chronic pancreatitis.
Ginseng: Ginseng is one of the oldest and most trusted natural remedies for a wide variety of health issues, especially those that are inflammatory in nature or affect the gastrointestinal system. For a case of pancreatitis, ginseng tea or ginseng root supplements can be taken to lower inflammation throughout the body and relieve pain.
Acupuncture: Pancreatitis is a painful and uncomfortable condition, but it has been around for thousands of years, so there are plenty of ancient remedies. Acupuncture is one of these, and there are a number of key pressure points and areas of the body where acupuncture can relieve the pain and inflammation of this particular gland in your body.
Yogurt: People consume yogurt for many reasons, but it is primarily to regulate the balance of bacteria in the stomach to improve digestive efficiency and prevent infections in the gut. This can significantly strengthen the immune system, which can then work harder to reduce inflammation in other areas and glands near the stomach, such as the pancreas.
Reishi Mushrooms: This particular variety of mushroom is one of the most densely packed foods when it comes to antioxidants and active organic compounds that can affect our health. In a case of pancreatitis, reishi mushrooms are able to soothe the stomach and affect inflammation in every other place in the body, including the inflamed, insulin-producing gland.
Spinach: Spinach and other leafy green vegetables are a common suggestion for someone suffering with this condition. The concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, as well as key vitamins and minerals, make this vegetable essential. Pancreatitis is often worsened by vitamin deficiency, specifically vitamin A, E and C, as well as selenium. Fortunately, these essential nutrients can all be sourced in spinach, so don’t be afraid to load up a salad and enjoy the quick relief!
Coconut Oil: When cooking, you should avoid the use of traditional vegetable oils if possible, as the fat content is not helpful for pancreatitis. However, coconut oils and other alternative cooking oils are much healthier, and have a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helping prevent the inflammation of this condition.
Red Grapes: Another powerful antioxidant that has been shown to work well against pancreatitis is resveratrol, which is found in high concentrations in red grapes. Not only is this a delicious remedy, but also a highly effective one!
Cut Out Sugar: High levels of sweets, candies, cookies and sugary food in your diet can be a major contributing factor to pancreatitis. This can increase levels of bad fats in your blood, and also force your pancreas to work harder to compensate for the sugar in your system. This can put stress on the gland and cause it to malfunction or become inflamed.
Exercise Regularly: Improving the health of your metabolism is key to maintaining overall health and regulating the function of the pancreas. By ensuring that you exercise regularly, your body will naturally burn off calories and prevent excessive storing of fat, which greatly lowers your risk of having an inflamed pancreas!
Turmeric: This could easily be called the king of the herbs, as the antioxidant potential of turmeric, with its active ingredient curcumin, is practically legendary. If you mix turmeric in with water every morning and drink the mixture, you help eliminate all inflammatory conditions quickly and easily.
Lose Weight: Somewhat connected to the healthier, low-fat diet and regular exercise, your ultimate goal should be to lose weight, especially if you are obese. This is a key contributing factor to pancreatitis, so do your best to shed the pounds, specifically if you suffer from a chronic version of this condition, or are at high risk due to other factors.
Final Word of Warning: Again, while most cases of pancreatitis clear up in a few days (or even faster with the remedies listed above), there are a number of potential complications if you fail to treat a chronic version of this condition. These remedies should be seen as complementary after speaking to a medical professional about more formal options for treatment.