30 April 2009

Yea to Fish, Nay to Beef

This article in the NYTimes discusses the results of a new study on the long-term effects of beef and processed meat consumption. To no one's surprise, I should think, the results showed that high levels of consumption of beef and processed meat is linked to an increased mortality rate of "20 percent to nearly 40 percent." Very interesting as well was the finding, "In the study, the largest consumers of 'white' meat from poultry and fish had a slight survival advantage."

The article also mentions the results of other studies on the consumption of fish:

    [F]ish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been linked in several large studies to heart benefits. For example, men who consume two servings of fatty fish a week were found to have a 50 percent lower risk of cardiac deaths. . . . Data from one million participants in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition trial found that those who ate the least fish had a 40 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer than those who ate more than 1.75 ounces of fish a day. Likewise, while a diet high in red meat was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer in the large Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, among the 35,534 men in the study, those who consumed at least three servings of fish a week had half the risk of advanced prostate cancer compared with men who rarely ate fish.
Similar health results were reported for women.

I do not eat a lot of red or processed meat, but I do eat a lot of poultry. I think I'm probably OK there. Likewise, I should eat less dairy fat, but I'm not too bad there either. But while I do take omega-3 supplements, I really ought to be eating more fish. There is of course some concern over mercury and other toxins present in seafood, but the prevailing opinion is that, unless consumed in unusual quantities, the health benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks.

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