Bowel cancer is a general term for cancer that begins in the large bowel. Depending on where the cancer starts, bowel cancer is sometimes called colon or rectal cancer. Most people diagnosed with with are over the age of 60. Evidence suggests certain dietary decisions can reduce the risk of developing the disease. A recent study touts the benefits of eating fish.
The optimal amount of fish to cut a person’s bowel cancer risk is 359.1g of fish each week
Eating three portions of fish each week could cut a person’s risk of developing bowel cancer, suggests research conducted by the University University of Oxford and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The study looked at the diets of 476,160 people through questionnaires.
The surveys included detail on people’s fish intake – including all sorts of fish; white, fatty, oily, and lean.
Researchers found that those who ate fish on a regular basis were 12 per cent less likely to experience bowel cancer than people who ate less than one portion of fish a week.
Going more granular, they found that the optimal amount of fish to cut a person’s bowel cancer risk is 359.1g of fish each week.
Although the research made a case for all fish consumption, it singled out oily fish in particular as being linked to a lower risk of bowel cancer.
People who ate 123.9g of oily fish, such as salmon and sardines, saw a 10 per cent lower risk of bowel cancer.
A typical portion of fish is around 100g, so even adding one portion of oily fish a week could be beneficial to your health.
Processed meat and red meat, on the other hand, may increase a person’s risk of developing bowel cancer.
One study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, even found that even modest amounts of such foods hiked the risk.
The study, part-funded by Cancer Research UK, found that every 25 grams of processed meat eaten daily – equivalent to a rasher of bacon or a slice of ham – increased the risk of bowel cancer by 20 per cent.
Every 50 grams of unprocessed red meat – a lamb chop or thick slice of roast beef – was linked to a similar increase in risk.
According to guidelines recommended by Bowel Cancer, If a person chooses to eat red meat, they do not need to stop but limit the amount they eat to 500g or less (cooked weight) per week.
500g of cooked red meat is about the same as 700g of raw red meat.
Eating more than this may increase your risk of bowel cancer, the charity warns.
Fibre intake may also boost the body’s defence against bowel cancer.
As Bowel Cancer UK explained: “Fibre keeps everything moving easily through your digestive system, adds bulk to your waste (poo) and makes it easier to travel through the bowel.”
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