New research suggests that eating fish may have yet another huge health benefit to add to its repertoire - the prevention of colorectal cancers. A study centered around fish consumption and rectal and colon cancers found that participants who ate fish three or more times per week had a reduced chance of developing these cancers.
Fish and how it may impact your colon and rectal health
While the study showed definite colorectal health benefits in eating fish, it did not delve further into the reasons why this might be. Further, it found the largest inverse relationship between fish consumption and colorectal cancers to be with rectal cancer.
There was also a relationship between lower colon cancer risk and fish consumption. However, that was not as impressive as the preventive benefits it had for rectal cancer.
It is not known whether it was the specific nutrients of fish that resulted in the colorectal health boost or other reasons. One theory is that people who consume a lot of fish also tend to be more health conscious in their other food choices and this can also be part of the reason for the reduced cancer risk.
Previous studies have also indicated that women who consumed fish frequently had a lower incidence of colon polyps. Colon polyps are often good indicators of trouble ahead when it comes to colon health. They are often considered precancerous growths that should be removed.
The many other important benefits of fish
It is well known by now that people who eat fish two to three times per week tend to enjoy certain health perks. These perks include enhanced heart and circulatory health, enhanced brain function, increased ability to manage weight, and improved eye and skin health to name a few. It has even been studied as a powerful natural anti-anxiety and antidepressant mechanism.
Fish has also shown benefits for enhanced immunity and suppression of inflammation which makes it an excellent weapon against cancer. This is due to its effect on two important components of our immune response called cytokines and eicosanoids. Fish consumption is also strongly recommended for anyone suffering from arthritis or any other inflammatory disease for this reason.
Why is fish such an important source of protein?
Fish contains a low amount of fat which makes it an excellent source of lean protein. Even fattier fishes tend to cook off most of the fat during the most recommended cooking method of broiling, while maintaining the important omega 3 fats.
The high content of omega 3 fatty acids, low fat content and vitamins A and D may explain a number of the benefits fish provides. In addition to the vitamins and omega 3 fats found in fish, several varieties also contain minerals like iodine, selenium, potassium, iron, and even calcium.
Many of these vitamins and minerals have interactions with one another which increase their absorption and utilization rate. For example, vitamin D acts as a catalyst for increased calcium absorption in the intestines which in turn promotes bone absorption of this important mineral. This makes fish one of the most nutrient-rich sources of protein we can consume.
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