Vegetables for pancreatitis: recommendations from nutritionists

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 15.05.2022

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By limiting the intake of certain foods, the diet helps to treat patients with diseases of the digestive organs, including inflammation of the pancreas. In addition to fatty, spicy and fried, there is a restriction on vegetables for pancreatitis.

Knowing exactly which vegetables can and cannot be consumed, it is possible not only to greatly improve the condition of this most important organ of the digestive and endocrine system, but also to prevent the recurrence of acute pancreatitis. [1]

What vegetables can not be eaten with pancreatitis?

The functional specificity of the pancreas and the nature of its damage due to inflammation lead, on the one hand, to the release of an excess amount of the trypsin enzyme (more precisely, to its premature activation) and autophagy of the organ's own cells. On the other hand, when the inflammatory process becomes chronic, the exocrine function of the pancreas is disturbed, leading to a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes (lipase, amylase, protease) necessary for normal digestion.

That is why, with this disease, both the diet and the methods of culinary processing of products are regulated. And in gastroenterology, the diet for chronic pancreatitis has long been recognized  as part of the treatment , moreover, the most important. Usually, patients are prescribed  diet 5 for pancreatitis  (No. 5P according to Pevzner). [2]

A special dietary approach is also used to eat vegetables that may be present in the diet - in case of acute inflammation, its remission or chronic form of pancreatitis.

Giving a negative answer to the question of whether it is possible to eat raw vegetables with pancreatitis, nutritionists give a strong argument: fibrous plant tissues (fiber) that have not been heat-treated, although they are not digested in the stomach, have a stimulating effect on the digestive system, including the pancreas, and when it inflammation is unacceptable. On the contrary, it is necessary to reduce the load to a minimum - especially in acute pancreatitis or exacerbation of the chronic form of the disease. And this can be achieved if vegetables with pancreatitis are boiled, baked or stewed without fats and spices. But don't fry!

Not only that, even the fiber processed during the cooking process does not cause additional release of digestive enzymes, vegetables should be homogenized as much as possible, that is, crushed to a puree state - in order to facilitate the digestion of food. As the state of the gland stabilizes, during the period of weakening of the inflammatory process (remission), they switch to the use of less chopped boiled and stewed vegetables, and then some raw ones.

But restrictions on the range of vegetable crops in the diet still remain, and they concern, for example, white cabbage, see -  Cabbage with pancreatitis .

Due to the ability of all cruciferous vegetables to cause flatulence, nutritionists are also not recommended to eat cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and broccoli with pancreatitis.

By the way, radishes, radishes, turnips, rutabaga and turnips belong to the same cruciferous family, and, in addition to bloating, they increase the secretion of gastric juice (and after it, pancreatic enzymes), so that turnips with pancreatitis are prohibited. [3]

Also, sorrel, leaf lettuce, spinach, onions (raw) and, despite all the beneficial properties, garlic for pancreatitis were included in the list of prohibited nutritionists.

Ordinary beans for pancreatitis, as well as green beans, are excluded from the diet due to the gas-forming effect of legumes.

Although corn and mushrooms are not related to vegetable crops, it is worth considering the following: neither canned nor boiled corn is used for pancreatitis, since even for a healthy gastrointestinal tract it is considered an indigestible cereal. Also, do not use corn oil with this diagnosis.

As for basidial macromycetes, like champignons, mushrooms or chanterelles, mushrooms with pancreatitis are rightfully included in the list of absolute prohibitions. The fact is that the cell membranes of the pulp of mushrooms consist of chitinous fibers that are not digested in the stomach.

When is dietary compromise possible?

There are a number of popular vegetables that can be included in the diet after an acute condition (surviving three to four weeks) and long-term weakening / absence of symptoms in case of chronic pancreatitis.

Only under these conditions, nutritionists allow - not often and in small quantities - sweet bell pepper for pancreatitis: baked or stewed (without skin).

In the form of stewed caviar (from blanched and peeled fruits) or mixed with boiled carrot stew, eggplant is allowed for pancreatitis.

As a side dish (mashed potatoes) or an ingredient in vegetable soup, you can use green peas for pancreatitis, but not daily and in small quantities.

Due to the terpene compounds of the essential oil and coarse fiber, celery cannot be consumed in acute pancreatitis. However, when pancreatitis is chronic, then in the absence of symptoms occasionally - so that there is no constipation - you can eat soup with the addition of celery root, and also include it in the menu in boiled form (during cooking, the fibers soften and do not cause irritation and increase intestinal motility). [4]

Is it possible to have tomatoes with pancreatitis, read in detail in the article -  Tomatoes for chronic pancreatitis , and at the same time see -  Cucumbers for pancreatitis

What vegetables can you eat with pancreatitis?

According to nutritionists, vegetables in pancreatitis can provide the body with nutrients (carbohydrates, vitamins, macro- and microelements), but they should not burden the inflamed pancreas.

Clinical studies have revealed in most patients with this diagnosis the presence of chronic metabolic acidosis associated with malnutrition or alcohol abuse - a decrease in blood pH (hydrogen ion activity) to the acid side, which negatively affects the body's ability to maintain acid-base balance.

Organic, fruit or alpha-hydroxy acids and their salts contained in vegetables are converted into alkaline carbonates in the body and can help in solving the biochemical problem of acidosis - by alkalizing the pancreatic juice (to a pH level of 7.1-8.2), which normalizes activity of its proteolytic enzymes.

So, carrots for pancreatitis (even boiled) are a valuable source of carbohydrates, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron), carotenoids, folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and sugars. In addition, root vegetables contain anthocyanins and caffeic phenol acid, which are active against free radicals and reduce inflammation, as well as organic acids - succinic and hydroxysuccinic (malic) - in the form of acid salts that promote alkalization.

Like raw carrots, raw beets are not used for pancreatitis, but only boiled or baked. Details in the article -  Beets for pancreatitis .

You can eat steamed or stewed zucchini for pancreatitis, which even after freezing retain their antioxidant effects and do not lose folic and ascorbic acid, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. True, their skin contains a lot of fiber, but heat treatment increases its digestibility without consequences for the digestive organs in patients with problems of the pancreas and gallbladder. [5]

Be sure to eat potatoes with pancreatitis. Due to the content of starch, it is a nutritious product, and due to the presence in its composition of organic acids (oxalic, citric, malic, fumaric and ascorbic) and pH ≤6.1, potatoes are a moderately alkaline-forming food.

Neither fried nor raw potatoes are used for pancreatitis: only as an ingredient in first courses (boiled), mashed potatoes, stews, and also baked.

Do not drink raw potato juice with pancreatitis: this is a home remedy for heartburn with increased acidity of gastric juice.

An ideal dietary product is pumpkin for pancreatitis. It is difficult to list all its useful substances, but unconditional health benefits include the presence of powerful antioxidants - beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid; riboflavin, thiamine, folic acid and pyridoxine; potassium, copper, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.

And all this in addition to the alkalized effect (due to organic acids - citric, malic and fumaric), low calorie content, pleasant taste and tender pulp. Raw pumpkin is not used for pancreatitis, it is prepared in different ways and is used both for first courses and for desserts.

In conclusion, we cannot disregard some differences in the recommendations of the domestic diet therapy for pancreatitis and the Western one. Thus, experts from the Academy of Food & Nutrition (USA) believe that antioxidant-rich vegetables (primarily green leafy, including spinach) and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats are useful for patients with pancreatic inflammation.

And experts of the National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) recommend using extracts of turmeric, milk thistle, ginger and dandelion roots to alleviate the condition in acute pancreatitis, as well as drinking water with the addition of lemon juice - for the secretion of alkali (bicarbonate) by the pancreas and normalization of the state of its excretory ducts. For the same purpose, it is advised to use an anti-inflammatory green drink from a mixture of juices of cucumber, cabbage, celery, ginger and lemon.

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