Red meat, vegetables and colon cancer; or is it the fish?

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for CRC in certain circumstances.

How diet may effect cancer risk

High red meat consumption is associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), and high fiber intake is associated with lowered risk; however, the effect of various types of meatless or vegetarian diets is uncertain.

a plate of food-fish fillet, green beans
Fish, vegetables, whole grains- healthy choices or not?

In a North American prospective study, researchers identified dietary patterns and CRC occurrence in nearly 78,000 adults over  7 years. A prospective study is one in which the study group is  observed over a continuing period of time, usually years.

During  that 7 years,  490 people developed cancer.  

The people in the study ate one of 5 diets based on eating questionnaires-

  1. Vegans: No eggs, dairy, fish, or meat
  2. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Eggs and dairy, but no fish or meat
  3. Pescovegetarians: Eggs, dairy, and limited fish, but no meat
  4. Semivegetarians: eggs, dairy, and limited fish plus meat (≤1 time per week)
  5. Nonvegetarians: eggs, dairy, and fish plus meat (>1 time per week)

After considering certain personal and clinical factors, they reported that all 4 vegetarian groups had a 22% lower risk of colon cancer than non vegetarians.

Most impressive was a 43% lower risk for the pescovegetarians.

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for CRC in certain circumstances.

And that eating fish in particular may be even more beneficial in regard to colon cancer.

So are vegetarian diets healthy?

Vegetarian diets are popular for various reasons, some related to health, some related to concern for animals or the environment. Most physicians and laypersons believe there are health benefits, but proof is elusive since

  • Documenting a person’s diet for any length of time relies on self-reports which may be inaccurate or even inflated.
  • Comparing  vegetarians to nonvegetarians requires people to voluntarily eat  meat
  • asking someone to deliberately eat a diet high in red meat would be unethical since  we believe it is not healthy (even without hard proof).

This study does not “prove” that red meat causes colon cancer or that eating vegetables prevents it. These diets seem to be associated with a higher or lower, respectively, risk of this cancer.

plate of vegetables
Healthy food choices don’t have to be difficult

Here’s some additional information about colon cancer from FamilyDoctor.org

via Colorectal Cancer | Overview.

exploring the HEART of healthy eating

Here is another post about eating-why your mother may have wanted you to eat more greens

How to use watercress and other greens.

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What is a Powerhouse Vegetable?

They defined “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” as those highest in nutrients, specifically the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and zinc and vitamins A,B,C, D, E and K.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Nutrition experts recommend fruits and vegetables in the treatment  and prevention of several chronic diseases – diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease,  and cancers. The greatest health benefits have been attributed to the green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus and cruciferous varieties.

A 2014 research study tried to determine exactly which fruits and vegetables were most likely to keep us healthy.

Researching powerhouse vegetables

A 2014 research study tried to determine exactly which fruits and vegetables were most likely to keep us healthy.

They defined  “powerhouse fruits and vegetables” as those  highest in nutrients, specifically the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and zinc and vitamins A,B,C, D, E and K. They looked at the percent daily value  (DV) of these nutrients  per 100 grams ( 3.5 ounces) of each food.

The Food and Drug Administration defines foods providing 10% or more DV of a nutrient as good sources of the nutrient, or nutrient dense.

What foods are nutrient dense? 

41 out of 47 vegetables satisfied the powerhouse criterion .

from 70% to 100% nutrient dense

  • cruciferous –watercress, Chinese cabbage, collard green, kale, arugul
  • green leafy-(chard, beet green, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce groups

from 24% to 62% nutrient dense

  • Other greens-collard, mustard, and turnip, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, and brussels sprouts

from 10% to 22% nutrient dense

  • Yellow/orange-carrot, tomato, winter squash, sweet potato, allium -scallion, leek,
  • citrus-lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit
  • berry- strawberry, blackberry groups

less than 10%

  • Raspberry
  • tangerine
  • cranberry
  • garlic
  • onion
  • blueberry

So, besides the fact that fruits and vegetables taste good, here is another good reason to eat them.

You can read a summary of the article with a list of all the vegetables studied with their nutrient density at this link-

 Preventing Chronic Disease | Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach – CDC.

plate of vegetables
Healthy food choices don’t have to be difficult

Less red meat + more vegetables = less cancer

Need ideas for cooking vegetables? Here are cookbooks to consider (Using these affiliate links costs you nothing extra, and the commision helps fund this blog’s mission)

Vegetable of the Day

Eat Your Vegetables

sharing the HEART of healthy eating

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

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