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The secret to women’s health

Candice Rosen is a registered nurse, certified health counselor and the author of The Pancreatic Oath. For more information, please visit PancreaticOath.com and follow @pancreaticoath on Twitter.

Key to health lies in your pancreas

As women, we know a lot of things! We wear many hats and through the ups and downs of day-to-day life, we learn something new all the time. Knowledge is indeed power, yet when it comes to our body, we don’t always know the keys to our health and wellness. One secret to health that many of us don’t know is of the role of the pancreas. But we’re going to change that right now. Here’s how the health of your pancreas is key to your overall health.

Woman eating Mediterranean diet

What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is a little-known or -thought-about gland that lies behind the stomach, below the sternum (breast bone) and plays a crucial role in weight, health and illness. As a registered nurse and certified health counselor, I have seen the effects an unhealthy pancreas can have on our overall health and I have made it my mission to educate and help others understand the importance of the pancreas and how we can take control.

Pancreatic abuse contributes to chronic disease

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cancer and respiratory illness, to name a few, are global health issues, and all of them can stem from pancreatic abuse.

Pancreas and weight gain

The pancreas produces and secretes insulin. Insulin is a hormone that lowers your blood glucose by acting as a key to open the door to your cells, allowing fuel (glucose) to enter the cell so it can function, repair itself and create other cells. Too much glucose causes the pancreas to overwork and manufacture too much insulin. The result? Insulin becomes ineffective (it can't open the cell door to allow the fuel into the cell) and the result is excess insulin and glucose coursing through your body, contributing to weight gain and inflammation that creates havoc on your vessels and all of your vital organs. These are the fundamentals.

The Pancreatic Oath

When my own young daughter was diagnosed with a series of chronic medical conditions, I put my years of experience and knowledge about this often-discounted gland to work and created a pancreatic nutritional program to help combat the negative toll our bad habits can have on the pancreas. In an effort to educate others on the role the pancreas plays in our overall health, I released the information in my book The Pancreatic Oath.

Be proactive with your health

The essence of The Pancreatic Oath is the practice of self-health. You are your primary caregiver. Your physician is your secondary caregiver. You play an integral part in your health and well-being. It is unfair to expect your physician to wave a magic wand and erase years of poor diet and abuse. You must do your part to protect, improve and sustain your health. This is accomplished not by counting calories, counting carbohydrates or working out like a maniac, it is by keeping your blood sugar between 70 and 100. (Type 1 and 2 diabetics should strive for numbers between 70 and 120.)  This number is determined 90 minutes after eating by using a glucometer to test your blood -- and is not as difficult, or as scary as it may sound.

Protecting the pancreas is even more important for cancer patients. There is nothing that cancer cells love more than glucose except insulin. Cancer treatment, be it surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, is counter-productive if what you eat increases your blood glucose and stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin, which results in a fertile ground for cancer cell growth.

Protect your pancreas

So how can you protect your pancreas? By staying away from unfriendly pancreatic foods: sugars (real and artificial), fruit juice or dried fruits, wrong food combining, processed foods/fast foods, "white" foods such as rice, potatoes, flour, bread. You can also help by eating pancreatic-friendly foods that keep your blood glucose between 70 and 100. Listen to your pancreas and your body – your health depends on it!

For more information on pancreatic health, visit PancreaticOath.com.

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