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Vegetarian diet may be linked to reducing colon cancer

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By: Karla Sullivan March 13, 2015 3

Vegetarian diet may be linked to reducing colon cancerBy Karla Sullivan

Harvard Health discusses that a vegetarian diet may be linked to a lower colon cancer. A new study suggest that we should go meat free.

For the study, researchers at Loma Linda University in California analyzed the dietary habits of more than 70,000 people. Those who ate a vegetarian diet had a 22% lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who weren’t vegetarians. Among those who ate a vegetarian diet that included fish, the reduction in risk was even greater — 43%. A vegetarian diet that includes fish and other seafood is called a pescovegetarian diet.

And what about the increased protection linked to eating fish? “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,” says Dr. Giovannucci. Higher intake of vitamin D has been linked to lower colorectal cancer risk.

The American Cancer Society that 1 in 20 will develop colon cancer at some point in their lifetime. Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains have been linked with a decreased risk of colon cancer. Be sure to get your fiber from food, not supplements; studies have not been able to show that supplements help lower risk. Eat less red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) and processed meats (hot dogs and some luncheon meats), which have been linked with an increased risk of colon cancer.

Other suggestions to reduce the risk of colon cancer are the following:

Have a colonoscopy. It is recommended that unless you have a family history of colon cancer, a screening of your colon should be done at age 50 and then 10 years after that unless suggested otherwise since most colon cases develop later in life.

Smoking and drinking alcohol is also related to colon cancer. Also try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and build up gradually to 30 minutes. Also, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you have a healthy weight, work to maintain your weight by combining a healthy diet with daily exercise. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy ways to achieve your goal. Aim to lose weight slowly by increasing the amount of exercise you get and reducing the number of calories you eat.

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