Your pancreas may be the least glamorous cousin of organs such as the heart and lungs. However, it does its job silently, keeping digestive juices flowing and regulating the body’s glucose levels by producing insulin. It plays a double role, working both in the endocrine system and in the digestive system, so when your pancreas is in trouble, you can experience a variety of problems from abdominal pain to diarrhea, vomiting, malnutrition and even diabetes.
Fortunately, the right foods in your diet can help a lot to heal your pancreas and restore your health. Keep in mind, however, that while the foods listed here may have a restorative and calming effect on your pancreas, these are not a substitute for medical opinion or medication prescribed by your doctor.
What is Good for Your Pancreas?
Before going into what you should eat, it is useful to know what you should limit in your diet. The National Pancreas Foundation recommends a low-fat diet, with no more than 20 grams of fat per day and no more than 10 grams per meal. Staying hydrated is also important, while alcohol is a strict no-no.
Eat Lean Meat:
Lean protein sources are a good way to ensure that you get the nutrients you need without the burden of extra fat. While helping your pancreas, you will also be doing your cardiovascular system a favor. Eliminate fat from your meats and eat more healthy chicken breasts and seafood like fish. If possible, switch to tofu or beans as your protein source. Use less oil in your kitchen and continue spraying with olive oil and other vegetable oils. The National Pancreas Foundation suggests the use of fat-free chicken broth as a way to obtain extra fat-free protein.
Eat Cruciferous Vegetables and Dark Green Leaves:
The anti-cancer properties of certain cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts make them a sensible choice for your pancreas. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, watercress or spinach are smart options to cure the pancreas due to its high content of iron and vitamins B. Sacred basil, although technically not a vegetable, is a green herb that Offers antioxidant protection.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Fruits and Vegetables:
Foods rich in antioxidants, specifically those rich in selenium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E, will help heal the pancreas. As a long-term study of 23,658 participants found, the intake of these nutrients could influence your risk of developing pancreatic cancer in particular. The ellagic acid in raspberries is both antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic and has been shown in studies to help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. Red grapes, blueberries and cherries are other antioxidant-rich fruits that help the pancreas.
“Carrots rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene provide the body with a rich supply of antioxidants and falcarinol to fight cancer”.
Polyacetylene-falcarinol can even help glucose absorption. Alternatively, sweet potatoes also contain a dose of beta-carotene, while celery can provide the body with falcarinol to prevent cancer. Tomatoes, squash and peppers are other vegetables that are recommended for pancreatitis.
Cold water fish and fish oils are rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are good for the pancreas. In addition to improving your body’s immunity so you can heal better, they also fight inflammation.
Can a Liquid Diet Heal?
Solid foods require more effort to be digested, so if your pancreas is under excessive stress, it may be helpful to follow a liquid diet for a few days. This can help ease the burden on the pancreas for a day or two. Liquids such as broth, apple juice, cranberry juice or white grape juices are a good idea. But remember, this is only a temporary measure since a liquid diet lacks other nutrients that your body may need. More regularly, you could supplement your solids diet with antioxidant-rich green tea, as well as these other liquids.
The traditional Chinese medicine suggests using red reishi mushrooms to reduce inflammation in the body. It also helps to balance your system, healing the pancreas. Some studies have also demonstrated the antitumor effect of the fungus. The beta-D-glucan sugar molecule in these fungi stimulates the immune system, helping it to respond better to foreign cells of all kinds – from viruses to bacteria and even tumor cells. Meanwhile, Ayurveda suggests adding turmeric or curcumin to foods to combat inflammation, diarrhea and other digestive disorders. Indian gooseberry or amla is useful for regulating blood sugar and is beneficial in the treatment of pancreatitis. In general, a satvic diet that is low in meat and fat is better. Avoid sour and spicy foods, as well as fried and refined foods. Drinking enough water is important to avoid the dehydrating effects of pancreatitis. The sattvic diet is light and fresh, and includes many fresh vegetables such as artichoke, broccoli, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, okra, as well as fruits such as apples, banana, melon, grapes and grapefruit. Rice, millet, oats and barley are good staple foods. Lentils and beans are also considered sattvic. Fresh whey or freshly squeezed juices are also a good way to drink more liquid.