Eating more fish and vegetables cuts colon cancer risk

By Doug Bennett • Published: June 30th, 2015
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Your mother was right: Vegetables and fish really are good for you. In fact, eating vegetarian can reduce colon cancer risk, especially if you include fish in your diet.

A new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that eating more vegetables and very little meat substantially reduced the risk of colon cancer. The researchers assessed the eating habits of more than 77,000 people nationwide who belonged to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They were chosen for the study because they don’t smoke or drink, and typically keep a vegetarian diet.

After tracking the group’s health for seven years, researchers found that the vegetarians were 21 percent less likely to get colon cancer than those who ate meat. Even among the meat-eaters in the group, consumption was very low — less than two ounces a day.

Still, not all vegetarian diets were found to be equal. Those who ate a mostly vegetarian diet they supplemented with meat or fish about four times a month didn’t get much benefit in terms of colon cancer protection. But those who ate fish at least once a month while cutting their consumption of other meats to less than once a month were the big winners: Their colon cancer risk dropped by 42 percent compared to people who ate more meat.

Colon cancer is a big threat: It’s the third most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths.

And there’s more at stake than just cancer risk. Two unrelated studies found that eating less meat can significantly lower blood pressure and lead to an average weight loss of seven-and-a-half pounds.

So call your mother and tell her she was right about eating your veggies after all. And be sure to put more fish and vegetables on your shopping list.