A new study suggests that regularly eating oily fish such as salmon or tuna may help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Specifically, these oily fish contain a fatty acid called n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). “Increased n-3 PUFA intake has a protective effect for breast cancer,” said Duo Li, professor of nutrition at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. His team analyzed over 20 different studies that involved over 800, 000 women in the US, Europe, and Asia, and 20, 000 cases of breast cancer. This is now published online in the journal BMJ.
Oily fish have several types of PUFAs that are involved with the chemical messaging in the brain, regulating blood vessel activity and the immune system. They might also lower risk of heart problems.
It is the PUFAs, not the fish itself, that lead to a lower risk. Women with a high intake of PUFAs had a 14% reduction in breast cancer risk. The study also found that even a 0.1 gram-per-day increase of the fatty acids resulted in a 5% lower risk.
“How much oily fish should a person eat?” Li suggests that a person should eat one to two servings of oily fish per week.
Research suggests that fish consumption is not a direct link to reducing cancer risk. In addition to eating oily fish, it is suggested that people still exercise regularly, eat fruits and vegetables, and not smoke for risk of breast and other cancers.
Keep update on women’s health and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.