Eating Fish Reduces the Incidence of Colon Polyps

When I looked into what events in March to write about this year, I couldn’t help but wonder how so many “awareness” events had ended up on our calendars! Among the many this month are: Registered Dietician Day, Women’s History Month, National Nutrition Month, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, National Doctor’s Day, National Reading Day and my favorite – National Goof Off Day – We all need a break! (Oh yes, we do!)

I chose to write about Colorectal Cancer. I have a few friends and relatives that did not survive this nasty cancer and I would like to help make it a disease of the past! The means to that end is information – speaking of National Reading Day… The more informed we are about diet, testing and other factors, the less people we’ll lose to this disease.

When I had my first colonoscopy ten years ago, the doctor who performed the test said that she had never seen such a squeaky clean colon. She asked me if I ate red meat and, since I hadn’t eaten it in 30 years, I said no. She told me, even back then, she was finding that the people with the most polyps were meat eaters, and the fish or vegetarian dieters were more likely to avoid colon cancer. Polyps are small growths on the lining of the intestinal tract that may develop into cancer. One of the reasons we have a colonoscopy is to remove any of these before they become a problem. Another is to diagnose colon cancer at its earliest stage because survival rates are higher when this, as with all cancers, is treated early on.

Now another study has come out to officially announce that women who eat fish at least three times a week have fewer polyps. Since colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in the US, this is big news. More than 5,300 participants were enrolled in this study and Buy pink Death 24 hours delivery received colonoscopies. Women who ate the equivalent of three servings of fish per week had about a 33% reduction in the risk for colon polyps. They also had a lower level of a hormone called prostaglandin E2 which is linked to inflammation. Since inflammation leads to heart disease, chronic pain and other health issues, ie – cancer, this is another piece of good news for fish eaters. The research, led by Harvey Murff, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of Medicine, was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

While women who ate the most fish had this protective effect, men who ate more fish did not have a reduced risk of developing colon polyps. Sorry guys! “The difference between men and women may be linked to their background diet. Even though men are eating more omega-3 fatty acids they may also be eating more omega-6 fatty acids and that may be blunting the effect,” said Murff. Omega 6s are found in seeds and nuts, and the oils extracted from them. Refined vegetable oils are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets in the American diet as well as in fast foods. In fact, soybean oil is in so many fast and processed foods that an astounding 20% of the calories in the American diet are estimated to come from this single source. Guys (and gals), for a better omega-3/6 balance, use extra virgin olive oil in salad dressings and when cooking, take fish oil supplements, and eat more oily fish, walnuts and omega-3 fortified eggs. And stay away from processed foods!

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