To Your Health
June, 2015 (Vol. 09, Issue 06)
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Don't Forget the Fish

By Editorial Staff

Vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters, take note: A recent study suggests you can dramatically reduce your risk of colorectal cancer with a simple dietary addition: fish. According to the study, published in the JAMA Internal Medicine (a peer-reviewed publication of the American Medical Association) in May 2015, vegetarians who consume fish regularly ("pescovegetarians") are 43 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer compared with nonvegetarians. This risk reduction was substantially lower than the reduced risk for vegetarians (22 percent lower risk), vegans (16 percent lower risk) and lacto-ovo vegetarians (18 percent lower risk).

Why might fish impact colon cancer risk? A Harvard Health Letter article detailing the study results quotes Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:

fish dish - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark "Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which may be anti-inflammatory. In addition, while a vegetarian diet has many good aspects, it may be low in vitamin D; fish is one of the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D." Studies suggest high vitamin D intake may exert a protective effect against colorectal cancer.

Diet plays a major role in the onset of numerous types of cancer, but particularly colorectal cancer. Replacing processed foods with high-fiber, nutrient-dense alternatives is a great place to start. And as this latest study shows, you can't go wrong with fish, either. Talk to your doctor for more information.