If you have a pancreas you have a natural, free form of cancer and disease prevention. The pancreas may be our most vital organ. Why? It contains hundreds of enzymes that allow us to digest food, assimilate nutrients, and clear the body of harmful substances. The pancreas creates several types of enzymes for digesting food. They are as follows:
1) Lipase: for digesting fats
2) Protease: for digesting proteins
3) Amylase: for digesting starches
Since we're talking about cancer and disease prevention, the most important group of enzymes are called proteolytic enzymes, which mean "protein-digesting". These enzymes are not only important in helping us digest proteins in our food, they are important in "cleaning up" extra proteins in our bodies. Things like fibroids, cysts, tumors, and even cancer cells.
Trypsin is one of the better known enzymes made from the pancreas. According to hundreds of studies, trypsin may be the key factor in whether or not we develop cancer. Trypsin specifically digests extra proteins in the body. Early cancer cells are made of protein and, as they form into tumors, they become larger, more primitive protein structures. When the pancreas is functioning correctly, it secretes around eight cups of pancreatic juice into the small intestine. Some of the enzymes, namely Trypsin, in the juice go into the bloodstream. This is when the protein enzymes (once again, Trypsin) can literally digest early cancer cells, as well as well-formed cysts, fibroids, and tumors.
You can read more here to see a study conducted on trypsin levels in patients with pancreatic cancer. Every patient with pancreatic cancer was found to have low levels of Trypsin, whereas healthy patients had abundant trypsin. You can also read this very exciting article from the New York Times - from 1906! I wish the news was still like this. If we believe that trypsin is the body's defense of cancer, then we can view cancer similarly as we view diabetes. Diabetes occurs from the pancreas not being able to produce enough insulin, where Cancer may occur from the pancreas not producing enough proteolytic enzymes like Trypsin.
How do we ensure that we're making enough of these enzymes? Simple, follow an organic, whole food, plant-based diet. The concentrated amount of proteins in animal products are too taxing for our pancreas. 1-3 ounces of meat are tolerable several times a week, but how many of us eat only 3 ounces of meat on our entree? Eating plant foods that provide ample amino acids (complete proteins) will give us adequate protein that is easily digested, leaving energy for more protein enzymes to be used on our body instead of our food. Other foods that impede enzyme production are processed foods, inorganic produce and animal products, excess animal products (especially flesh), refined carbohydrates, sweeteners, excessive smoking of any plant, alcohol, and chemicals in our body care products. I also believe that excess isolated oils, especially those that are hydrogenated like margarines, exhaust the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Another food to mention is soy. Soy, much like the olive, has been heavily researched and hoisted up as health food of the millennium. Soy is NOT a health food unless it has been properly fermented using ancient techniques. Tempeh, nato, and miso are the three forms of soy that are properly fermented and can give us immune-enhacing, as well as cancer preventing, properties. I believe unfermented soy can even cause certain cancers and illnesses. Why? Because soy is high in, drum roll please, Trypsin inhibitors! Soy must be fermented for, at least, six months to release its Trypsin-inhibiting properties. Once it's fermented, it's loaded with beneficial bacterias, B-12, good proteins, and cancer fighting nutrients. Unfortunately, soy burgers, tempeh bacon, soy cheese, soy yogurt, and soy hot dogs do not count as healthy, fermented soy products. Inorganic soy is also extremely polluted in chemicals and GMOs. No matter how fermented it is, if it's not organic soy do not eat it. Soybean oil, which is in nearly everything, is just a liquid concentration of pesticides, chemicals, estrogens, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Traditional miso soups and lightly steamed tempeh are ideal forms. Still, I only recommend my clients, especially those not of Asian descent, to limit soy intake to three times a week.
As you can see, Trypsin-inhibiting foods, overeating, processed foods, too many animal products, and sugar can tire out your poor pancreas and keep it from making life saving enzymes for your entire system. The less we eat, especially the less protein we eat, the more rest our pancreas gets and the more enzymes our bodies get. This is why it is best to have your last meal, at least, four hours before sleeping. If your last meal is at 6pm and you eat breakfast the next morning at 8am your body has received a 12 hour break from digestion. This is called a "daily fast" and it allows the body to clean itself up every night. You will, most likely, wake up feeling more refreshed and are less likely to get sick. Especially if you break your fast (breakfast) with easily digestible starches and sugars like whole fruits or oatmeal. Protein and fat should never be the first things we eat.
To give your pancreas a boost, remove animal products, oils, salts, sugars, and refined carbohydrates from your diet. Drink herbal teas like Red Clover, Burdock, and Dandelion. Those herbs can also be taken in tincture form: one full dropper, 4 times daily. These herbs are especially cleansing for the blood and lymph, which creates less work for the liver and the pancreas, allowing the pancreas to do more important things than make up for a sluggish liver. Oatmeal, kitcheree, brown rice, steamed vegetables, raw salads, quinoa, raw almonds, flax meal, and low-glycemic fruit like apples, pears, and berries are especially good for maintaining good blood sugar and reducing your need for insulin production.
When our pancreas is working non-stop to make insulin to balance our blood sugar, it is unable to make enough trypsin and other proteolytic enzymes to defend the body. Our body's first line of defense against cancer is really the pancreas. A strong, healthy pancreas will make enough extra enzymes to clean the body up each night of harmful proteins that may manifest later as a disease.