If you’re like most folks, you never spare a thought for your poor industrious pancreas. In fact, it wouldn’t be at all unusual if you really weren’t quite sure what your pancreas is, or even what it does for you. So let’s start there.
Your pancreas is a six to eight inch organ which runs along your abdomen, behind your stomach. It’s attached to your small intestine, and it resembles a large oblong sweet potato.
Your pancreas is essentially two glands, housed together inside of a single organ. And it’s important for two reasons.
First, it produces enzymes that help your body digest your food properly as well as neutralize stomach acid to protect your intestines from damage. And second, it secretes insulin and glucagon into your bloodstream, to help control your blood sugar levels.
Prevent pancreas problems with diet
A healthy pancreas can help prevent digestive issues and ward off type 2 diabetes. And the best way to prevent pancreas problems is through your diet.
Start with a diet that’s low in carbs and filled with plenty of fruits and veggies. And when it comes to alcohol and fat, think moderation.
Slash transfats, highly processed foods and fried foods from your diet. Make sure to get regular exercise. Avoid extreme or crash diets. And if you smoke, stop.
Next, try eating more of the following pancreas friendly foods to keep this critical organ healthy and avoid future pancreas problems.
Your pancreas loves cherries for several reasons. They’re loaded with powerful antioxidants that protect the organ from free-radical damage. Plus cherries are naturally anti-inflammatory, which means they help fight the inflammation that can cause acute pancreatitis.
Cherries also contain a natural substance called perillyl alcohol (POH). In lab and animal experiments, the compound has helped fight cancerous tumors, including pancreatic tumors. And some experts believe POH may help prevent pancreatic cancer.
2. Coconut oil:
A diet that’s loaded with tons of junk fats, such as transfats, puts a real strain on your pancreas. The hard working organ has to pump out increasingly higher amounts of digestive enzymes to tackle these harder to digest fats.
But coconut oil, which contains lots of medium chain triglycerides, requires much less effort from your entire digestive system. In fact, your body doesn’t even require bile or the digestive enzymes your pancreas produces to digest and absorb coconut oil. So eating more of the oil gives your pancreas a well-deserved break.
Animal proteins, which are tougher to digest, can really put your pancreas through its paces. And an overworked pancreas can eventually lead to inflammation. But switching up your protein sources could help you avoid pancreas problems.
Legumes are a great alternate source of protein. Your pancreas doesn’t have to produce as many enzymes to help digest them. Plus their high fiber content aids in digestion, and the plant protein gives your pancreas a break.
Good legume options include lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans and black beans.
4. Red (purple) grapes:
Red grapes are a great source of the powerful antioxidant resveratrol. Resveratrol helps prevent blood vessel damage and reduces inflammation which can help protect your pancreas. Plus research has found the potent compound can kill pancreatic cancer cells.
The digestive enzymes your pancreas pumps out flow through a very small duct into your small bowel. It doesn’t take much to block that duct. And if that happens, your pancreas can become inflamed, and you can develop digestion problems
But drinking enough water can help flush out the microscopic particles that can bind together to form a blockage. And contrary to one popular old wives’ tale, water will not dilute your digestive juices to the point that they don’t work on your food.
Feed your pancreas the foods it craves and you could help prevent pancreas problems from ever occurring.
Wondering if your pancreas is healthy? Check out our special report 5 warning signs your pancreas is in trouble.
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