Acute pancreatitis is no laughing matter.The disease is characterized by having your body’s enzymes eat at your pancreas, and it may be triggered by other factors. So how do you avoid getting into this sticky situation? According to a study published in the journal Gut, eating more vegetables may help you lower that risk considerably.

In 1997, 80,000 Swedish adults provided researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, with answers to questions about their diets. Researchers proceeded to study these participants over the next 11 years. They zeroed in on the possible connection between antioxidant levels, which is thought to be influenced by a person’s diet, and the increased risk of acute pancreatitis.

During the study, 320 people developed the disease under conditions that didn’t have anything to do with gallstones. Researchers also found that the participants ate, on average, almost two servings of fruit and about 2.5 servings of vegetables daily. In addition, those who ate more than four servings of vegetables a day were 44 percent less likely to develop acute pancreatitis.

Eating fruit apparently had no positive effects on the matter. On the other hand, researchers believe that the antioxidants in vegetables may have something to do with the lowered risk. While there has yet to be proof of a cause-and-effect relationship between eating vegetables and the reduced risk of acute pancreatitis, that shouldn’t stop you from eating more leafy greens.

(Photo by Ginny via Flickr Creative Commons)

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