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Why It’s Important to Keep Your Pancreas Healthy

medical illustration of a pancreas | Johns Creek Family MedicineOn the left side of the body behind the stomach you will find the pancreas. It is a small endocrine gland, about 15 cm (6 in) long that produces important enzymes like pancreatic juice for digestion and absorption. As well, the enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, chyme and lipids. The pancreas also produces certain hormones such as somatostatin, glucagon, pancreatic polypeptide and insulin which regulate blood sugar levels and glucagon.

On the other hand, according to WebMD, there are various conditions of a weak pancreas like diabetes, pancreatic cancer and other issues. What is more, there are certain foods and lifestyles that can damage the pancreas.

• Smoking
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Foods containing chemicals – like additives, preservatives and colorings
• Fatty foods – contribute to high triglyceride levels especially saturated and trans fats
• Refined products – highly processed and refined products such as sugar and white flour
• ‘Loss of sweetness’ in life – Chinese Medicine connects pancreas issues with certain emotions like frustration, anger and rejection

A Healthy Pancreas

There are many ways to safeguard the pancreas and prevent or reduce the risk of pancreatitis and other issues. Likewise, some specialists believe that there are natural habits that can help heal the pancreas.

Control alcohol consumption – reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption. Varies studies show that high alcohol intake is connected with increased risk of pancreatitis.

Maintain a low-fat diet – low fat diets that contain high amounts of fruits and vegetables and minimal processed foods contribute to a healthy pancreas. Consume sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens.

Get regular exercise – studies found that overweight people are more likely to get gallstones, which puts them at a bigger risk for acute pancreatitis. Exercising helps maintain weight and reduces the risk of pancreatitis. In fact, some studies show that a 5 to 10 percent loss of body weight can actually recharge the pancreas a little and help it function better.

Avoid crash dieting – many specialists claim that quick weight loss can encourage blood sugar issues and increase the risk of gallstones.

Quit smoking – various research links smoking to chronic and acute pancreatitis. According to Medscape, there are two major studies that connect smoking numerous pancreatitis issues. And by quitting smoking, the risk of pancreatitis is drastically reduced.

Consume antioxidants – rendering to WebMD, consuming higher amounts of antioxidants may lower the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Foods high in antioxidants are comprised of vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium. Some of these antioxidant super foods include grapes, blueberries, red berries, nuts, dark green veggies, orange vegetables like sweet potatoes, whole grains, legumes, fish and green tea.

Johns Creek Family Medicine

If you suspect that there is a problem with your pancreas, seek specialized advice as soon as possible. At an expert facility like Johns Creek Family Medicine, you receive an in-depth look into all aspects of your needs including diagnostics, screening tests, prevention and personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Johns Creek Family Practice is conveniently located close to Peachtree Parkway (Highway 141) and McGinnis Ferry Road intersections. It is right across from Emory Johns Creek Hospital on Hospital Parkway. Dr. Zack Charkawi MD is accepting new patients in Gwinnett, North Fulton, South Forsyth counties and the neighboring North Atlanta areas.

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