If you think about the organs in your body that you need to keep healthy, you may not think about your pancreas. Your pancreas makes key enzymes needed to digest food. Pancreatic cancer is more dangerous than other cancers because it is located deep between other organs. It is absolutely vital to keep the pancreas healthy by eating certain foods to keep it functioning properly.
Cherries, blueberries, grapes and tomatoes provide a large amount of antioxidants such as vitamin C to flush out toxins from the body, which cause cancer and prevent the cells from being destroyed. Puree them into a juice for easier absorption and quicker digestion, or eat them whole after a thorough wash to get the full cancer-preventing benefits. The skin contains many nutrients that people don’t get with just the pulp. Red grapes contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that benefits the pancreas.
A variety of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and spinach have chemicals and minerals that aid in pancreatic health. All of them contain antioxidants, while spinach contains iron and vitamin B. A stir fry with some fresh garlic and onion (both high in vitamin c) is your best bet for a meal with pancreatic health in mind. The green tops of carrots and celery make a rich broth for soup. Fresh vegetables are best for the body, but frozen is also a good option.
Tofu is a great source of protein that is also low in fat. Protein is essential for rebuilding muscles and organs, but excess fat can harm the pancreas. Tofu comes in a variety of textures for different dishes. Add tofu to the above stir fry for even more benefits or whip it up with some peanut butter and dark chocolate for a rich, creamy vegan dessert.
The live cultures of probiotics in yogurt are good bacteria that help your body’s natural bacteria fight off illness and protect the immune system. Yogurt also aids the digestive system, of which the pancreas is an important part. Both regular or Greek yogurt contain probiotics, although the non-fat version is the best option for pancreatic health.
Red Rishi Mushrooms
Used in China for thousands of years to restore balance inside the body, red rishi mushrooms reduce inflammation and have similar benefits of onions and garlic for pancreatic health. If are hard to find in your local grocery store, try the Asian foods section at a specialty grocery store.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.