What is an Enlarged Spleen?
The weight of a healthy spleen is around 0.15–0.44 pounds (70–200 grams).
A weight of 0.88–1.1 pounds (400–500 grams) is referred to as splenomegaly. If the weight of your spleen is more than 2.2 pounds (1 kg), it is called massive splenomegaly. Splenomegaly may be an acute or prolonged condition. Due to infection or trauma, your spleen may become temporarily enlarged, with chronic diseases like cancer that can lead to a prolonged enlarged spleen.
Some causes of an enlarged spleen are
- Heart failure
- Certain cancers
- Infections like mononucleosis
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
Symptoms of an Enlarged Spleen
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding easily
- Feeling fullness regardless of eating or after a modest amount of food since your spleen presses on your stomach
- Frequent infections
- Anaemia (low red blood cell count)
If you have an enlarged spleen, you are more prone to developing infection risk and anemia. Anemia indicates that your organs are not getting adequate oxygen.
Your Diet and Spleen Health
The foods that you are consuming will give you energy, build and repair cells, and more. Your dietary choices can influence every organ of your body, including your spleen.
A diet that contains ultra-processed foods like fast food, soda, and packaged snack foods will enhance the risk of conditions related to an enlarged spleen, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease NAFLD or obesity. On the other hand, if you follow a nutrient-rich diet like vegetables and fruits will minimize your chance of developing RA, NAFLD, and other conditions.
Enlarged Spleen Foods to Avoid
Though the lists of foods to avoid spleen problems are big, still, there are some food items that you can consume easily even with spleen problems.
1. Sugary Foods
Drinking alcohol will aggravate your enlarged spleen condition. Excessive alcohol may cause your blood cell level to go low, and thus, inhibits the function of the spleen. You may also suffer from a disease called anemia. To ease the symptoms of an enlarged spleen, you must avoid or restrict your alcohol consumption.
Tea and coffee possess antioxidants that are used to lessen inflammation. But if you consume too much coffee, this can affect your sleeping patterns, and as a result, your inflammation will also increase. Several studies have claimed that consuming coffee with a weak spleen may irritate your system.
4. Diet Sodas
Sodas contain ingredients like artificial colors and sweeteners called saccharin and aspartame. These are not healthy for your immune system. Rather than drinking carbonated beverages, you should drink water to quench your thirst.
5. Processed Oils
If you prepare your foods with refined oils, then this will enhance the production of free radicals in the body. These free radicals will damage your tissues and may cause inflammation. Thus, your immune system gets exposed to various diseases and infections. Thus, natural oils are recommended as they contain a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
6. Fast Foods
If you want to lessen the symptoms of your enlarged spleen, then you should stay away from all types of fast foods. Fast foods are not healthy for your immune system because they contain a lot of salt. Excessive salt consumption may result in immune deficiencies.
7. Cold Foods
If you are suffering from enlarged spleen problems, avoid cold and raw food items. Discard those food items that are stored in your refrigerator, as your body may not digest them. Since you can’t consume large meals, you prefer those foods that can be easily digested. Don’t eat raw vegetables and green salads as they come up with higher water content that will enhance your swelling.
8. Cooked Vegetables
You can easily digest properly cooked vegetables even with an enlarged spleen. Such vegetables are parsnip, pumpkin, turnip, winter squash, and carrot. You can also consume legumes like peas, black beans, and garbanzo to your diet. Green vegetables that contain higher Vitamin A are great for your immune system function.
9. Food Rich in Zinc
Zinc will minimize your inflammation and assuage stress. Some zinc-rich food items that you can incorporate into your diet are crab, lobster, oysters, clams, and mussels.
10. Seeds and Nuts
Try to consume nuts and seeds like hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, sesame, flax, chia, pumpkin, and peanuts.
11. Immune Booster Foods
Add citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C to your diet. These fruits support and boost your immune system. You can take fruits like acai berry, figs, dates, apples, red grapes, apricots, plums, watermelon, and peach.
You can prepare your food by adding spices like ginger, nutmeg, aniseed, rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla, garlic, turmeric, molasses, capsicum, and fennel.
Other foods to avoid with an enlarged spleen are red meat, packaged cookies, dairy products, white bread, shellfish, and so on.
The Bottom Line
To minimize the symptoms of an enlarged spleen, eat meals slowly and chew properly. Don’t take snacks between your meals, as they are unwholesome for your spleen. Discard those food items that will further weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. Vitamins C, E, A, and D, zinc, and selenium are excellent choices for your immune system. So, eat food items that contain these ingredients.