The pancreas is an organ behind your stomach that helps with your digestion. It also helps balance your amount of blood sugar as you convert food into fuel for your body.
Lifestyle factors, such as a diet high in processed carbohydrates and synthetic ingredients, can damage the pancreas and, over time, limit its function. The opposite is also true: Eating food rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and folic acid
Juicing is becoming increasingly popular as a method of boosting your intake of certain fruits and vegetables and obtaining the nutrition they contain.
There’s no research to support the idea that juicing has more health benefits than simply eating whole fruits and vegetables. But anecdotally, there are people who swear by juicing as a method of improving overall health as well as improving the health of certain organs, including the pancreas.
If you have weakened pancreas function, have been diagnosed with prediabetes, or are currently diabetic, know that most juices contain high levels of sugars. Even though fresh juices are made of healthier ingredients, they are still technically a “sugary drink.”
Drinking a juice first thing in the morning, or attempting a so-called “juice fast,” can disrupt your body’s blood sugar balance.
For other ideas about modifying your food choices to help your pancreas, consider the pancreatitis diet.
While we wait on research that explores how juicing stacks up against other methods of supporting your pancreas, you might want to give it a try.
As with any significant change to your diet, and if you have any existing health conditions, discuss with your healthcare provider before you add a significant amount of juice to your diet.
Investing in a “cold-press” juicer will deliver more of your desired juice ingredients into the finished product. You can try drinking juice once or twice per day, after a workout or as a breakfast supplement.
If your goal is to make your pancreas healthy, don’t replace meals with juices — at least at first.
Here are some suggested ingredients to consider using for healthy, fresh, homemade juices.
Dark leafy vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants, as well as folate. Antioxidants are key for those who make the arguments that juicing works as well as eating whole fruits and vegetables to give your body nutrition.
A 2014 review of the literature found that increasing antioxidant intake may help reduce pain levels associated with pancreatitis.
Examples of green leafy vegetables to throw in your blender include:
Many cruciferous vegetables are rich in pancreas-friendly antioxidants, with the added bonus of containing vitamin C and vitamin K. These veggies are rich in fiber, too, but adding them to a juicer will strip most of the fibrous content out. Examples of these veggies include:
- Brussels sprouts
String beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are high in protein, which is why both are recommended if you’re working on pancreas health. Throwing these ingredients in your juice will boost your protein consumption.
Red grapes and apples
Red grapes and apples both have resveratrol. According to the Pancreas Cancer Action Network, resveratrol can help suppress cancer cells in the pancreas. Both grapes and apples contain antioxidants and fiber, too.
Blueberries are off the charts in their antioxidant content, which contributes to the health of your pancreas. When you include more antioxidants in your diet, your rates of inflammation go down as your body fights free radicals.
Creating a juice with just one basic ingredient isn’t very exciting flavor-wise. Consider incorporating both fruits and vegetables into your juice concoctions as a way to keep sugar levels low and improve the flavor of your juice, too.
Juice combinations to try include:
- 1 cup arugula + 1/4 cup carrots + one sliced apple + fresh ginger, to taste
- 1 cup kale + 1/2 cup blueberries + small handful of almonds
- 1 cup spinach + 1/2 cup strawberries + 5 to 10 seedless red table grapes
Whether or not you decide to try juicing for your pancreas, there are some foods that you can actively avoid to protect the health of your pancreas. Some of these foods are high in sugars, cholesterol, and saturated fats, all of which make your pancreas work harder to convert your food into energy your body can use.
Fried and high-fat foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to harming your pancreas function.
Foods to avoid include:
- mayonnaise and margarine
- full-fat dairy (such as butter and cream)
- red meat
- organ meat, such as liver
There are some symptoms that you should never ignore, especially when it comes to the health of your pancreas.
- consistent waves of nausea and pain that appear a few minutes after eating
- pain when you lie on your back
- pain that spreads from your back to your shoulder blades
- jaundiced, yellow skin
- bloating, diarrhea, and “oily” stool
- fever or a rapid heartbeat
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, see a doctor right away. Visit urgent care or the emergency room if you can’t get a doctor to evaluate these symptoms the same day.
Currently, only anecdotal information supports juicing for the health of your pancreas. In fact, people who have pancreas conditions should be extra careful when experimenting with juicing, as juices can contain high sugar levels that overload the pancreas further.
But dietary factors can influence the strength and health of your pancreas. Making modifications to your diet — including adding fresh, healthy juices — can be a positive step toward overall wellness.
Drinking plenty of water and cutting back on alcohol consumption can also help your pancreas function. Speak to a doctor if you are concerned about your pancreatic health.