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Diet High in Oily Fish Slashes Risk of Death from Cancer


One of the healthiest foods you can eat is an oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, the nutrient superstars linked to an array of wellness benefits. In fact, a new study shows upping intake of oily fish may slash the risk of death from bowel cancer and suggests consuming a few mere mouthfuls per day can make a difference.

Research published in the journal Gut focused on omega-3 fish because earlier studies indicate it curtails the growth of malignant tumors and reduces blood supply to cancer cells. Scientists based their findings on two large long-term investigations that together involved more than 170,000 adults. The participants answered questionnaires about their medical history and lifestyle every two years, and they filled out food-frequency questionnaires every four years.

Among the 1,659 individuals who developed bowel cancer during the study period of 10.5 years, 561 died. Of this group, 169 of the fatalities stemmed from the bowel malignancy, while the remainder of the deaths was due to cardiovascular disease and other cancers.

Risk Reduction Ranged from 41 Percent to 70 Percent

The participants with a higher intake of oily fish were more likely to have other healthy lifestyle practices such as getting regular exercise, abstaining from smoking and including fiber in the diet. Individuals who developed bowel cancer and whose diets included higher quantities of oily fish had a lower risk of death from the malignancy.

The risk decrease was dose related. Patients who ate at least 0.3 grams (g) per day of omega-3 fish after their diagnosis had a 41 percent lower risk of death from their disease, compared to those who ate less than 0.1 g per day. Increasing the intake by at least 0.15 g per day after diagnosis was linked to a 70 percent reduced risk of death. Conversely, decreasing daily intake was tied to a 10 percent elevation in the likelihood of fatality.

A similar pattern was noted in deaths from all causes after the bowel cancer diagnosis. Patients who increased their oily fish intake had a 13 percent lower risk of death, while those who decreased their intake had a 21 percent higher risk.

Small Intake Makes a Difference

Perhaps the most encouraging takeaway of the study is that merely a few mouthfuls can offer significant protection. The size of the serving that led to the 41 percent reduction in death risk was 0.3 g, which is one-sixth the size of a normal fish portion of 1.8 g. This means eating a few mouthfuls per day or two regular servings per week might be very beneficial.

Recipe: Blackened Salmon from Gulf Coast Favorites Cookbook


“No fuss and lots of flavor is the motto of this dish. Sweet and spicy collide for a taste you will not soon forget,” says Holly Clegg, bestselling healthy cookbook author of trim&TERRIFIC and the Eating Well Series. She shares this recipe with Live in the Now readers.

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  1.  In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except salmon. Rub mixture on both sides of salmon.
  2.  In a large nonstick skillet, cook salmon over medium heat about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until desired done-ness.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 223 g, Calories from fat 26%, Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 88 mg, Sodium 427 mg, Carbohydrate 5 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sugars 3 g, Protein 35 g, Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat

Terrific Tidbit: Don’t overcook salmon, as it is best served golden brown on the outside with a warm rare interior.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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