The pancreas plays a crucial role in digestion and controlling blood sugar levels. The six-inch-long organ sits behind the stomach and secretes enzymes that help the body digest proteins and carbohydrates. It also produces hormones that help metabolize food and regulate blood sugar. Diet is one of the most significant contributors to a healthy pancreas.
Garlic naturally reduces the amount of sugar in the blood while stimulating the pancreas to produce hormones. Eating a clove or two of garlic raw on an empty stomach is the best way to benefit from its therapeutic properties. However, if this isn’t palatable, consuming it with other food still confers benefits. Apart from aiding the pancreas, garlic treats intestinal parasites, improves circulation, and prevents infection.
Spinach contains iron and vitamin B; the latter is essential for proper functioning of the pancreas. Other leafy greens, such as kale and Swiss chard, also offer this benefit. Spinach significantly reduces the chances of inflammation, which reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer. It also contains MGDG agents, which research shows substantially slow down the rate of cancer cell growth in the pancreas.
Broccoli contains sulfur, which helps detoxify organs like the pancreas. The cruciferous veggie is also rich in apigenin, which can reduce or prevent neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. Broccoli is most effective raw or lightly steamed, as prolonged cooking can remove many nutrients. Several studies in past decades confirm the benefits of this food, especially for the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
Red grapes are beneficial to the pancreas. They contain antioxidants such as resveratrol, which protect the tissues from damage. Resveratrol also helps prevent inflammation and reduces blood vessel damage. Grapes can improve carbohydrate metabolism and the transport of glucose into the cells, which can regulate hormone sensitivity.
Sweet potatoes are rich in a powerful antioxidant called beta-carotene, which contributes to pancreatic health by maintaining pancreatic cell and hormone regulation. The regular consumption of sweet potatoes introduces natural sugars into the bloodstream gradually, rather than suddenly, in spikes, as is the case with processed sugar. Corn, carrots, and oranges have similar glucose-regulating potential.
Berries are healthy in general, but specific compounds in blueberries encourage the self-destruction of cancer cells not just in the pancreas but in other organs as well. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress, leading to a reduction in free radical damage in the pancreas and decreasing the risk of pancreatic cancer. Eating fresh blueberries will reduce the possibility of inflammation and vascular damage from diabetes, as well, and several studies conclude they can also reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
The probiotics in yogurt help improve the quality of the digestive system, which directly impacts the health of the pancreas. Several studies suggest that yogurt might be the only dairy product that can foster a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Consuming yogurt labeled as having “active cultures” is always best.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine for millennia, reishi mushrooms contain compounds that can soothe pancreatic inflammation and swelling. They are also highly valued for their antioxidant content, mainly phytochemicals that prevent free-radical damage; beta-glucan polysaccharides and triterpenes reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Among their other benefits, reishi mushrooms can prevent cancer cells from attacking healthy tissues in the body.
Pure licorice was used for millennia as herbal medicine and is rich in amorfrutin, which can ease inflammation in the pancreas and help reduce blood sugar levels. Amorfrutin also reduces the chances of developing fatty liver and increases hormone resistance. Drinking licorice root tea is the easiest way to benefit from the root’s many healthy properties.
Horseradish isn’t just a tasty, spicy condiment. The root can also help with pancreas health, thanks to the concentration of glucosinolates. These compounds may reduce the growth of cancerous tumors and also help eliminate already-established carcinogens that could cause pancreatic cancer.
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and help the pancreas combat oxidization. Oxidative stress results in disease-causing cell damage in the pancreas. Studies show that vitamin C counteracts that damage by blocking this process and improving the immune defense of pancreatic cells. Lemons are also rich in magnesium, which aids in the creation of pancreatic enzymes and in dealing with the effects of inflammation.
Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that the flavonoids in oregano can kill pancreatic cancer cells, thanks in part to two chemical compounds: luteolin and apigenin. Luteolin helps reduce inflammation in the pancreas by decreasing the risks of oxidation and scar tissue, especially in people with illnesses. Scientists also found that apigenin inhibited a special enzyme called GSK-3β. This enzyme prevents apoptosis, a process that leads to the death of cancer cells. Overall, integrating oregano into meals provides exposure to these flavonoids and may help strengthen the pancreas.
Pancreatic Î² cells are responsible for creating and secreting insulin, the hormone helps the body use sugars properly, and its partner, amylin, which promotes satiety. In people with diabetes, the insulin-producing beta cells are affected and their ability to produce insulin diminishes, leading to hyperglycemia. These cells can also succumb to oxidative and nitrosative stresses that can further impair their function. Calendula naturally counteracts these stresses and even helps the pancreas to repair and regenerate, according to a study conducted in animal models.
Haritaki, Terminalia chebula, has long been a staple in Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine for preventing and treating vascular, visceral, and muscle diseases. Its dried fruit is a known antidiabetic agent and may even help the pancreas more efficient. Studies suggest that haritaki increases insulin production, and also enhances sugar transportation, helping muscles get the energy they need. It also slows down carbohydrate digestion, which may help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
Native Americans have been using goldenseal for generations, not only to deal with infections but to boost the function and capacity of the pancreas and other vital organs, as well. Its active ingredient, berberine, is an anti-inflammatory alkaloid that reduces fasting blood sugar and makes insulin receptors more sensitive, in addition to strengthening pancreatic beta cells. Goldenseal is also a well-known antiseptic for minor wounds, which is especially useful for individuals with diabetes, who are at risk of wound infections.