Protect Your Pancreas with Whole Grains
Your pancreas plays two important roles, the first is digestion and the second is to help regulate your blood sugars by releasing the hormones insulin and glucagon. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer in the world. Like all cancers there are factors which are out of your control like genetics. The good news is that there are choices you can make each day to decrease your risk of pancreatic cancer. One of these lifestyle choices is your diet.
Including a whole diet approach rather than focusing on one specific food is key to overall wellness and health. Including enough and a variety of foods from each of the food groups is important for overall health and not just to reduce your risk of cancer. This blog will focus specifically on whole grains.
Including 2 or more servings of whole grains a day can decrease your risk of prostate cancer compared to those who eat 1 serve or less. The reasons behind whole grains and whole grain containing products like Corn Thins protective effect is suggested to due to four components:
High fibre foods like whole grains have anticancer and cancer protective properties. These protective components optimise the immune function in your body and reduce inflammatory factors which promote the progression of prostate cancer.
- B Vitamins
Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins. Of these B vitamins folate is a highlight in protecting your body from prostate cancer.
- Antioxidants. Minerals and Vitamins
These include β-carotene, vitamin C and E, zinc, selenium, copper, and manganese. All of these vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help promote optimal immune system functioning and removal of free radicals which can cause damage and disease to the cells of your body.
- Phenolic Acids, Phytoestrogens and Lignans
These non-nutrients are protective against pancreatic cancer development by helping maintain normal hormone pathways.
On top of these four factors whole grains help to promote optimal cholesterol levels, maintain healthy insulin sensitivity and overall healthy weight. These factors indirectly reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer.
Take home message: Eating a balanced diet will have a positive impact on your entire body. Remember every time you eat you are influencing the cells of your body and their ability to function.
- June M. Chan, Furong Wang, Elizabeth A. Holly, Whole Grains and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in a Large Population-based Case-Control Study in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, American Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 166, Issue 10, 15 November 2007, Pages 1174–1185, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwm194
- Lei Q, Zheng H, Bi J, Wang X, Jiang T, Gao X, Tian F, Xu M, Wu C, Zhang L, Li N, Li J. Whole Grain Intake Reduces Pancreatic Cancer Risk: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Mar;95(9):e2747. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000002747. PMID: 26945361; PMCID: PMC4782845.