The pancreas is one of the unsung heroes of everyone’s overall health and wellness. You can’t see it, and unlike ribs, lungs and heart, you can’t feel your pancreas. So, it makes sense that so many people don’t know much about it. Let’s take a look at what the pancreas does for us and how we can support our pancreas for a long and healthy life.
Why is the pancreas so important? Your pancreas is a gland organ that plays two crucial roles.
The first role is called exocrine function. It produces and secretes enzymes into the small intestines, where the food you eat is broken down and used for nutrients and energy. Without the pancreas working optimally, you’ll miss out on nutrient absorption and can suffer from a wide range of other symptoms such as bloating, brain fog, fatigue, flatulence, food sensitivities and more.
The second role is called endocrine function. It produces and secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream. When your pancreas isn’t working optimally, your body can’t regulate glucose levels, which can lead to diabetes.
What causes the pancreas to work too hard?
First, let’s talk about diet. Raw foods, also called living foods, are any plant-based foods that are not cooked or heated. In this state, they have the enzymes we need for optimal health. When we eat processed foods, we’re feeding our bodies food that has the natural enzymes processed right out of each bite. That means the pancreas has to work extra hard to produce enzymes for digestion without help from our food intake.
The same goes for foods that are cooked. Skipping salads and raw food means we’re depriving our body of the delicate ingredients, like digestive enzymes that can’t withstand the cooking process.
The pancreas has to work increasingly hard as we progress through the natural aging process. Chronic stress puts stress on our organs, including the pancreas. And some medications can also reduce pancreatic function.
Problems from an overtaxed pancreas aren’t limited to digestive problems and diabetes. You can also end up coping with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, and diseases, such as pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Additionally, an overtaxed pancreas will have to choose what tasks to prioritize because it is already overworked. Often, it will prioritize the creation of digestive enzymes to maximize nutrient absorption from the processed or cooked foods that take significant energy to digest. That means the pancreas won’t put as much priority into metabolic functions, which are the building and growing of strong cells and tissues. The pancreas may also choose to prioritize metabolic function, leaving us with digestive challenges. Either way, our entire body will be affected by an overtaxed pancreas.
Ways to support pancreatic function for better overall health:
Reducing stress or finding useful coping skills, managing medications and eating foods that support enzymatic function will help the pancreas’s ability to do its job.
Foods that support your pancreas include raw vegetables and fruits, sprouts, whole grains, lentils, beans and low-fat or non-fat non-dairy products such as almond or flax milk. Foods that harm the pancreas’s ability to work efficiently include red meat, fried foods and foods that are high in fat or sugar.
Supplementing with high-quality, plant-based digestive enzymes can also be a vital way to maintain a healthy, efficient pancreas. Look for a supplement that includes many types of enzymes, is manufactured in a quality-controlled facility and is formulated conscientiously, such as free from fillers, non-GMO and easy-to-digest vegan capsules.
Most people will experience reduced pancreatic function in their lifetime—some sooner and more heavily than others. However, there are ways to anticipate and support proper pancreatic function. Follow a healthy diet and try Life Infused Digestive Enzyme supplements to support your pancreas for a longer, healthier life.