Contributed by: Abshar Faheem
All about the pancreas!
The pancreas is a vital organ in the human body that plays a crucial role in the digestion process. It is located inside the abdomen and behind the stomach having the size of your hand. During the digestion process, the pancreas builds up pancreatic juices called enzymes. These enzymes including lipase, protease, and amylase helps to break down sugar, fat, and starches from the food we eat. The pancreas also assists your digestive system in the production of hormones called insulin, glucagon, gastrin, and amylin.
These hormones are chemical messengers that explore through your blood. The hormones of the pancreas assist to regulate the appetite, blood sugar levels, stimulate stomach acids, and instruct your stomach when to get empty. There are various problems associated with your pancreas including diabetes (Type 1 and 2), pancreatitis (acute and chronic), and pancreatic cancer. If you get pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, it will not be able to perform its function efficiently.
If this pancreatitis is left untreated, it can become worse and life-threatening. People with pancreatitis can have abdominal pain, bloating nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sudden weight loss. As the functions of your pancreas are linked with your digestive process, it can be affected by what you eat or avoid.
Your diet plays an important role in maintaining the health of your pancreas. You should add a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at each meal that provides fiber, lean protein, and a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that prevent inflammation, improve gut health, and control blood sugar.
5 best foods to improve pancreatic health
Researchers are still trying to find out more and more foods associated with a plant-based diet that can protect and heal your pancreas. Foods containing anti-inflammatories and antioxidative properties are highly recommended as these foods can mitigate cellular damage and protect the digestive system. In this article, we will discuss the 5 best foods that can help you in maintaining and healing the pancreas. These include:
Leafy green vegetables:
Leafy green vegetables carry vitamin K which helps to reduce the inflammation of the tissues. Researchers have shown a strong link between a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer and dark green leafy vegetables. You can include spinach, arugula, and kale in your food menu. The kale is rich in vitamin C and beta carotene which is well-known to fight cancer. In addition, kale is also rich in kaempferol, a flavonoid that prevents the progress of pancreatic cancer cells.
Cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, brussels sprouts, watercress, cauliflower, and broccoli are a rich source of the photochemical glucosinolate that transforms to isothiocyanates (which have been proved to have anti-pancreatic cancer properties in cell and animal studies, including overcoming the growth and spread of cancer cells and killing pancreatic cancer cells.)
In addition to this, these veggies contain the flavonoids apigenin and luteolin, and sulfur-containing compounds that supply bitter flavor supporting detoxification. These flavonoids and compounds also contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that prevent cell damage and reduce inflammation markers. Experts believe that high consumption of cruciferous vegetables can assist in preventing pancreatic cancer.
Ginger is known as an anti-inflammatory herb that can improve the biochemical parameters for type 2 diabetes including insulin resistance and sensitivity, and lowered glycosylated hemoglobin or Hb1AC. Ginger is a rich source of antioxidants that prevent tissue damage, shield the pancreas from lipid peroxidation on diabetic rats. Ginger is also recognized with significant therapeutic potential for assisting an extensive collection of health complaints including nausea, coughing, chest congestion, and gastrointestinal distress.
The other health benefits associated with ginger are improved brain function, providing respiratory relief, promoting heart health, eases migraines, relieves menstrual symptoms, reduces arthritis pain, alleviates morning sickness, and relieves cough and cold.
Onions and garlic
Garlic and its sulfur-containing compounds can provide numerous benefits including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Experts believe that it can reduce the toxicity of the pancreas, prevent tumor cell growth and enhance the taste of food. Garlic can help in curing various ailments and improving the circulation of blood as well. Garlic contains a lot of sulfur-containing active compounds and other nutrients such as vitamin B, manganese, copper, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, folate, and selenium.
It lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps in blood sugar regulation, provides relief from colds and flu, lowers the risk of cancer, prevents cognitive decline, and shields against microbial infections. In addition, onions also have cancer-fighting compounds called flavonoids.
Turmeric root, also a part of the ginger family, contains the bioactive compound curcumin that can assist to reduce inflammation. This compound can reduce the chances of developing diabetes from prediabetes, the inflammation of pancreatitis, and prevent the progress of pancreatic cancer cell growth.
It contains calories, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, protein, iron, and manganese. Other compounds are also present in turmerics such as vitamin B3, C, E, and K, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It provides plenty of health benefits including wound healing, weight management, arthritis relief, diabetes control, proper digestion, skin benefits, cholesterol reduction, prevents Alzheimer’s and liver disease, anti-aging, anti-venom, and oral care.
The bottom line
Before incorporating any of these vegetables and other items into your diet, please connect with your doctor if you are a pancreatic cancer patient. We hope you find this article useful for yourself.
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