Honey has been one of the great superfoods of the past couple of decades, but is honey good for pancreatitis? In short, yes! Honey has various medicinal properties, meaning that it’s ideal for helping address pancreatitis. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help tackle one of the main symptoms of pancreatitis – inflammation of the pancreas. In addition, it has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, which will reduce the risk of future infection induced by any scarring/damage caused to the pancreas by pancreatitis. Is honey good for pancreatitis, in terms of the immune system? Again, yes! Honey, especially when combined with garlic, can help naturally bolster the body’s immune system. That will make it easier to combat your pancreatitis, and manage it in the longer term. It’s a superfood, and it’s a super food to take (in moderation) to help with your pancreatitis!
The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach, and is crucial in helping the body’s metabolic processes, in the regulation of blood sugar levels and in helping the body’s digestive system function properly. Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes highly inflamed. Left unchecked, this inflammation can lead to scarring which, in turn, can increase the likelihood of developing illnesses like diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Clearly, it’s important to get on top of your pancreatitis in whatever ways you can. With that in mind, then, let’s explore that initial question – “is honey good for pancreatitis?” – in more detail.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
In spite of its prevalence globally, relatively few people are aware of pancreatitis as a condition, or the discomfort, pain and inconvenience it can cause. The primary symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal pain, a tender abdomen and swelling around the abdominal area. Secondary symptoms include worse pain after a large meal, fatigue and nausea/vomiting.
The Key Question: Is Honey Good for Pancreatitis?
From the dressing of wounds, through to the treatment of ulcers and burns, honey has long been used as a home remedy thanks to its various medicinal properties. Honey contains various antioxidants, displays various anti viral and antibacterial and has been shown to aid gut health. In relation to pancreatitis, honey is also beneficial. Anecdotally, people have reported their pancreas feeling better as a result of eating a teaspoon of honey. This is borne out in scientific research, too, however. Manuka honey, in particular, has been shown to display antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects within the pancreas.
Various scientific papers have found that honey can reduce “oxidative stress” – not only in the pancreas, but in other areas as well, including the liver, kidney and gastrointestinal tract. What has that got to do with pancreatitis, we hear you say? Well, we know that pancreatitis (whether acute or chronic) refers primarily to the inflammation of the pancreas. Oxidative stress often leads to chronic inflammation. So, if you can reduce the oxidative stress, you can help in turn reduce the inflammation. Is honey good for pancreatitis, then? Well, the answer – both anecdotally and scientifically – would suggest to be yes!
It’s important to note at this point, that honey shouldn’t be considered as a remedy for those suffering with Diabetes. This is due to its naturally high sugar content. If you suffer from another medical condition and are unsure as to whether honey might worsen your symptoms, then always consult a medical professional.
What Soothes the Pancreas?
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatitis, or are simply having pain in that area, there are several things you can do to help soothe the pancreas, asides from taking some honey. After all, whilst honey can indeed help the pancreas, too much of it can lead to undesirably high sugar consumption, which can lead to dietary problems of its own. In general terms, there are three main substances that you can add to your diet to help soothe the pancreas. These are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It’s also thought that weight loss can help aid the symptoms of pancreatitis, with a study conducted in 2017 finding that obesity can lead to more severe pancreatitis. A more active lifestyle and attempts to lose weight (in a healthy and sustainable fashion) are therefore effective options in trying to alleviate general pain and discomfort felt around the pancreas and its surrounding areas.
What Foods to Eat Whilst Recovering From Pancreatitis
We’ve established the fact that antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and glutamine can help soothe the pancreatitis – and by extension, therefore, aid in the recovery of pancreatitis. What foods in particular, though, contain naturally higher quantities of these nutrients and chemicals?
Let’s first look at antioxidants, which are already known to have many health benefits.
One of the easiest changes to your diet can be increasing the amount of antioxidants you ingest. This can significantly help reduce inflammation. Antioxidant-rich food stuffs can be found in abundance, and include: blueberries, beans (kidney, pinto, black and red), prunes, leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, herbs and spices (ginger, oregano, cloves and thyme), oatmeal and (unprocessed) granola. This is by no means an extensive list, but it just goes to show how easy it can be to pack some more antioxidants into your daily diet!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids can be achieved by eating any of the following: various types of fish, such as herring, mackerel, sardines and salmon; flax and chia seeds, and certain types of nuts – walnuts, for instance. If these don’t appeal, then you can get omega-3 fatty acids into your body in pill form. Cod liver oil tablets are cheap and can be bought from and pharmacy or drug store.
Glutamine is an amino acid crucial in helping bolster the body’s immune system. It also significantly aids in the metabolism process. Some studies have found that glutamine has aid in recovery from acute pancreatitis, in particular, helping better prevent those hospitalised with the condition from developing further infection. A lot of the food types high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are also high in glutamine. These include: spinach, beans, fish and lentils.
It’s also worth noting that adopting a more liquid-based diet can also help in the recovery from pancreatitis, with soups and broths often causing the pancreas less aggravation than their solid counterparts. In addition to this, taking a daily multivitamin will help ensure you’re getting all the vitamins you need to help your pancreas function as effectively as possible.
What Foods Irritate the Pancreas?
Just as there are types of food which help the pancreas, there are also those that most definitely don’t. Alcohol consumption is often the primary cause of pancreatitis developing in the first place. This is because it causes the pancreas to produce toxic and harmful substances within the body. So, for those already suffering from pancreatitis, doctors advise that alcohol should be avoided altogether.
Doctors warn against consuming large quantities of caffeine; whilst it’s been suggested that coffee can prove moderately helpful in protecting against alcohol-caused pancreatitis, large quantities of caffeine can be harmful to those already suffering with pancreatitis, given its stimulant nature.
Consumed in even a moderate quantity, trans fatty acids can be harmful for your body, your pancreas included. So whether you’re just trying to keep on top of your pancreatic health, or actually have pancreatitis, then you should avoid heavily processed and fried foods, like most takeaways, fast food and cookies, cakes and other processed baked foods.
Enjoyed What You’ve Read?
So, in answer to the question ‘is honey good for pancreatitis?’, we’d say – yes! What’s more, it’s tasty and a superfood, too! If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, then why not leave a comment? Or, why not give it a share – in fact, why not do both? Be sure to come back to Main Health Fitness for more interesting articles on sleep, recipes, lifestyle, exercise and more!