Fish, seafood and you colon
A large 22 year study (1) looked at fish and seafood in the diets of men, and discovered that those who eat fish, shrimp, prawns and other seafood have a 40% lower chance of colon or rectal cancer.
The researchers were not sure why frequently eating fish has such a protective effect on you colon health. They made a couple of suggestions: first, that the omega-3 essential fatty acids and the vitamin D in fish might protect you. Second, they suggested that it could simply be that fish lovers eat less red meat - something that may raise the risk of colon cancer.
I feel that many studies (2) which suggest that red meat can cause cancer miss the most important point. Animals that are held in pens and feedlots and intensively fed on grain and foods other than their natural (or wild) diet, injected or fed antibiotics, hormones and other drugs and chemicals, produce meat, milk and eggs with a damaged nutritional profile. These crowded, sick, indoors, intensively fed animals (including fish and poultry) cannot produce healthy food for you.
However, meat from wild or healthfully grown animals will not raise colon cancer risks. Just one of many examples of this is the traditional peoples from the far northern parts of the world who ate caribou and other red meats as a large part of their diet yet had negligible rates of cancer.
Unfortunately, virtually all the research I have read on the health effects of different foods does NOT take into account the quality of the foods studied. Most research studies assume that organic, free range or wild foods are the same as intensively farmed, mass-produced, chemically-produced foods.
Here are some warnings concerning fish:
- Grow Youthful notes how mercury and other pollution levels are rising in most of the world's oceans.
- Another trend noted in the book is the dramatic rise in fish farming, and how farmed fish are low in Omega-3 oils in particular.
- Plastics are finding their way into our food and water. A study shows that plastics are not only found in the guts of wild animals and fish, but that this plastic can be absorbed into the flesh of the animal. Salmon meat contains microscopic particles of plastic. (3)
- The pollution risk in seafood products coming from China and several other countries is high, as they are farmed with minimal or unreliable supervision.
1. Hall, M. N. et al. A 22-year prospective study of fish, n-3 fatty acid intake, and colorectal cancer risk in men,
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2008 May;17(5):1136-1143.
2. Veronique Bouvard, Dana Loomis, Kathryn Z Guyton, Yann Grosse, Fatiha El Ghissassi, Lamia Benbrahim-Tallaa, Neela Guha, Heidi Mattock, Kurt Straif. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. The Lancet Oncology, Published Online: 26 October 2015.
3. Philipp Schwab, Sebastian Koppel, Philipp Konigshofer, Theresa Bucsics, Michael Trauner, Thomas Reiberger, Bettina Liebmann. Detection of Various Microplastics in Human Stool: A Prospective Case Series. Ann Intern Med. 3 September 2019. DOI: 10.7326/M19-0618.