Located just below the stomach, the pancreas plays an important role in the human body – keeping our blood sugar levels at normal levels. When blood sugar becomes too high, it affects other parts of our body, slowing our healing and damaging our blood vessels. This is why problems with the pancreas often translate to either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a condition where the body is unable to control the amount of glucose circulating in the blood stream.
Because the pancreas is very easily damaged by an unhealthy diet, there are certain food items that you can include in your meals and snacks to boost its health. Scientific studies have indicated that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is inversely associated with pancreatic cancer (reduces risk).
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables out on the market. Rich with antioxidants and a substance called sulforaphane, broccoli is able to reduce serum cholesterol, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress – all contributing factors to pancreatic damage. Another study in 2012 was able to prove that broccoli supplementation significantly reduced levels of serum insulin concentration among diabetic patients.
Garlic is not only good for cardiovascular health, it is also an excellent food item that has anti-hyperglycemic and lipid-lowering properties – properties that improve the glycemic control and pancreatic health. In a 2013 study, garlic capsules (with and without metformin intake) was able to improve fasting blood glucose levels.
#3: Red Grapes
The next time you make a salad, think of adding in some red grapes! Red grapes have high levels of polyphenols and reserveratrol, two substances that improve carbohydrate metabolism in the body and glucose transport into the cells. They are able to effectively moderate the insulin sensitivity of the pancreas.
#4: Blueberries And Cherries
Despite popular belief that fruit intake increases blood sugar levels and is bad for people affected by diabetics, it is actually the opposite! A 2014 Finnish study revealed that intake of berries in particular, was able to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. This can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of berries, which reduces vascular damage to the pancreas caused by diabetes.
#5: Red Reishi Mushrooms
Used in traditional Asian medicine for hundreds of years, the red reishi mushroom was a popular choice among royalty and the upperclass to manage a variety of ailments. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it may be able to prevent the inflammation of pancreatic tissue which can lead to cancer.
#6: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not only a good source of much need carbs, they also are thought to have significants benefits forpancreatic health. An astonishing study published in 2000 revealed that sweet potato intake was able to regranulate pancreatic islet B-cells, which are responsible for insulin production.
#7: Tomato / Tomato Soup
One of the biggest lifestyle contributors in preventing pancreatic cancer is the intake of fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes are very high in lycopene, which is regarded as a potent cancer-fighting agent able to reduce your risk for pancreatic cancer.
A substance found in spinach called MGDG (monogalactosyl diacylglycerol) is a potent cancer-fighting substance because it inhibits DNA replication in cancer cells. A 2013 study revealed that it was able to slow the growth of cancer cells in the pancreas, as well as promote cancer cell death or apoptosis. Note that this was an in vitro study and the bioavailability of the spinach compound after digestion was not ascertained.
Protein malnutrition is one of the most dangerous effects of pancreatic cancer. To build up protein without causing damage to other parts of the body can be tricky. Tofu is a good source of much needed protein without the harmful effects of having too much meat in the diet.
#10: Natural Yogurt
Natural yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, with the additional benefits of probiotics which help prevent infections and boost the body’s immune system. This is one of the most natural ways to protect the pancreas and prevent damage to the pancreatic tissue.
 Bahadoran, Z., Mirmiran P. & Azizi F. (2013). Potential efficacy of broccoli sprouts as a unique supplement for management of type 2 diabetes and its complications.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23631497
 Bahadoran, Z., et. al. (2012). Effect of broccoli sprouts on insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized double-blind clinical trial. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22537070
 Kumar, R., et. al. (2013). Antihyperglycemic, antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory and adenosine deaminase- lowering effects of garlic in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with obesity.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23378779
 Vallianou, N., Evangelopoulos, A., & Kazazis, C. (2013). Rerveratrol and Diabetes.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4160010/
 Dragan, S., et. al. (2015). Polyphenols-rich natural products for treatment of diabetes.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25174925
 Mursu, J., et. al. (2014). Polyphenols-rich natural products for treatment of diabetes.Intake of fruit, berries, and vegetables and risk of type 2 diabetes in Finnish men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24257723
 Vendrame, S., et. al. (2013). Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption improves inflammatory status in the obese Zucker rat model of the metabolic syndrome.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23465589
 WebMD. Reishi Mushroom. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/reishi-mushroom-uses-and-risks
 Kusano, S. & Abe, H. (2000). Antidiabetic activity of white skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) in obese Zucker fatty rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10706405
 Janses, R., et. al. (2011). Fruit and vegetable consumption is inversely associated with having pancreatic cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21915615
 Akasaka, H., et. al. (2013). Monogalactosyl diacylglycerol, a replicative DNA polymerase inhibitor, from spinach enhances the anti-cell proliferation effect of gemcitabine in human pancreatic cancer cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23174220