This article is written by Fitday Expert panel member, Dr. Umashri Rao Francis (M.B.B.S)

For a healthy functioning human body, the endocrine system plays a very important role. The hormones produced by the system are carried in our blood and distributed to all the organs in the body. This system consists of many glands namely the pineal gland, adrenal glands, the pituitary gland, thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, and testicles. This article focuses upon the impact of Nutrition on Pancreas and managing diabetes.

The Pancreas secretes digestive enzymes- which help in digestion of food, and insulin- which helps in the metabolism of glucose. It helps in the digestion of fats and starches, hence plays a pivotal in the regulation of blood sugar.

Disorders of the Pancreas

The three main disorders of the pancreas are:

  • Chronic pancreatitis: Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that does not heal or improve; it gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage. Chronic pancreatitis eventually impairs a patient’s ability to digest food and make pancreatic hormones. It may be due to heavy alcohol use, autoimmune disease, blocked pancreatic duct, blocked common diet, and it may also be hereditary. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are:
    • upper abdomen pain
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • oily or fatty stools
    • weight loss
  • Pancreatic cancer: Pancreatic cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. It may be an exocrine cancer or an endocrine cancer depending on the part of the pancreas involved. Smoking and health history can affect the risk of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose early. Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
    • jaundice
    • pain
    • weight loss
  • Diabetes Mellitus: When you consume carbohydrates, your body turns it into a sugar called glucose and sends that to your bloodstream. Your pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that helps move glucose from your blood into your cells, which use it for energy. Diabetes prevents your body from properly absorbing energy from the food you eat because you can't make insulin or because you can't use it correctly.

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes: occurs because the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (beta cells) are damaged. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so sugar cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy. People with Type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood glucose. Type 1 is the most common form of diabetes in people who are under the age of 30.

Type 2 diabetes: known as the adult onset diabetes, is where the pancreas makes insulin, but it either doesn't produce enough, or the insulin doesn't work properly. Nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2. This type occurs most often in people who are over 40 years old but can occur even in childhood if there are risk factors present. Type 2 diabetes may sometimes be controlled with a combination of diet, weight management and exercise. However, treatment also may include oral glucose-lowering medications, or insulin injections.

Diet for healthy Pancreas

For good pancreatic function the list of ‘don’t eat’ foods are longer than the ‘do eat’ foods.

  • Do eat: foods are fruits, vegetables, legumes, low fat dairy, avocado, olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds, and probiotic foods like yogurt
  • Don’t eat: foods are alcohol, and all high fat foods including full fat dairy

Foods to heal pancreas

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About Dr. Umashri Rao Francis: Dr. Francis has been practicing Medicine for over 27 years. She is an experienced General Physician successfully treating a vast majority of the local population, in particular the poorly diagnosed and difficult cases. Dr. Francis is a regular contributor to the #FitBlog and is available to answer your article related questions at

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