Pancreatitis is a condition, which should be treated seriously, as it can lead to a high mortality rate. If you are diagnosed with chronic or long-standing pancreatitis, making immediate changes to your diet is vital to prevent any recurrent attacks.
Chronic pancreatitis has the risk of turning into infected necrosis, which is difficult to treat. Recurring attacks of acute pancreatitis can result in great danger to your health. To combat the condition, your diet should consist of highly reduced fat content.
As the body needs particular amount of fat intake for survival, you need to be selective of the fat foods you intake, as they need to be tolerated by the damaged pancreas. Coconut oil with its immensely beneficial properties is advantageous when added to your pancreatitis diet.
Before you know about coconut oil properties, a brief view of the disease will help in understanding the role of Coconut Oil in Pancreatitis Treatment.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation occurring in pancreas, which is the gland responsible for producing the enzymes that help in digesting food. The fats and carbohydrates in the food are metabolized using these enzymes and insulin hormone.
When left untreated, pancreatitis leads to complications such as abscesses, cysts and fluid leak into abdomen, which may be fatal too. Acute pancreatitis can also result in shock.
Chronic pancreatitis results due to several episodes of recurrent acute pancreatitis attacks over time. This causes impaired digestion leading to weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. Pancreatitis also leads to diabetes mellitus and calcification inside the pancreas.
Alcohol consumed in excess and presence of gall stones are the main causative factors in adults, while in children cystic fibrosis is the main factor. Sometimes high levels of triglycerides or calcium, surgery or trauma to abdomen, disease in the blood vessels, or genetic mutations also cause the condition.
Coconut Oil Diet for Pancreatitis
If you have chronic pancreatitis, you should prevent occurrence of acute pancreatitis. A controlled pancreatitis diet that is devoid of alcohol and high fat content is necessary. Adding coconut oil helps to bring the condition under control effectively. The reason for this effect is due to the following factors:
- Easy absorption: A majority of fats in our diet are made of long chain group of triglycerides. These are absorbed via our gut. However, the short and medium chain group of triglycerides is easily digested and gets absorbed after it leaves the stomach.
- Quick energy formation: Since coconut oil contains mainly medium chain triglycerides, when it is added to your diet the triglycerides leave small intestine and enter liver through hepatic portal vein, where they are converted as energy. On the other hand, the long chain group enters the heart before reaching liver and takes a longer time for energy conversion.
- Unchanged cholesterol levels: The medium chain triglycerides do not affect the LDL or HDL cholesterol levels. They are transported via chylomicrons in the blood, while the long chain triglyceride is passed via LDL and HDL only.
- Less strain on pancreas: Medium chain triglycerides do not need pancreatic enzymes and do not cause any strain on the pancreas. Long chain triglycerides can be used by the body only after they are broken down by pancreatic enzymes. Hence, they are difficult to digest, when compared to medium chain triglycerides.
Most of the unsaturated and saturated fat in our food including eggs, meat, milk and the vegetable oils we use contain mostly the long chain triglycerides or fatty acids. These affect the cholesterol levels negatively and increase risk of atherosclerosis and hearth disease.
But medium chain triglycerides do not have any adverse effect on cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk. Since coconut oil is rich in medium chain fatty acids and is considered as one of the riches source of the beneficial fatty acids, adding it to your diet in small doses is good for:
- Producing instant energy, as it is not necessary for the medium chain fatty acids to be digested by gall bladder or liver
- Increased metabolic rate
- Increased circulation
Thus in case of pancreatitis where the digestion of fat is impaired, adding coconut oil is highly advantageous.
Coconut oil helps in reducing the symptoms of pancreatitis such as controlling weight loss that occurs due to malabsorption. The medium chain triglyceride in coconut oil bypasses the normal fat absorption process and gets rapidly absorbed helping in counteracting weight loss effect.
Adding Coconut Oil
The coconut oil can be added in pure form or taken as part of nutritional supplement. Thus, weight gain is promoted leading to better physical activity and strength. Improved life quality is achieved as a result. Some effective ways of adding coconut oil include.
For cooking: The oil is stable in form hence does not break down, when heated to high temperatures. The nutritional properties of the oil are intact at elevated temperatures. So the oil can be used for cooking stir-fry foods and for cooking any other food.
As smoothies: The nutty and sweet flavor of coconut oil gives smoothies an enhanced taste. The coconut oil produces a creamy texture to the smoothies in addition to improving the nutritional value of the smoothie.
Healthy mayo: Since fats are prohibited in pancreatitis, Coconut Oil mayo is a great substitute. Moreover its taste is delicious than the store bought products. You can easily mix olive oil and coconut oil without adding any other artificial ingredients or additives to get your own home made and healthy mayo, which has a balanced does of monounsaturated and saturated fats.
Snack food: Adding coconut oil to desserts or cookies helps to include the highly beneficial lauric or medium chain fatty acid in your diet and makes the snacks taste good too. Adding a teaspoon of coconut oil in your tea, coffee or herbal tea also enhances the health benefits.
When you have pancreatitis, it is safe to avoid meat such as pork, beef, duck, or lamb in any form. And while adding coconut oil, ensure you use it in moderation. Two to three tablespoons of coconut oil is sufficient to give the needed effect. Adding broccoli and other pancreatic friendly foods along with coconut oil helps to boost the beneficial effect..
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