Why I became a Pescatarian ?

Pescatarians or Pesco-vegetarians are those who do not eat meat but eat fish.

During the last International Cancer Day (February 4th), I was invited for a TV interview. There’s always a set of questions they ask to a cancer doctor - ‘What is Cancer ? What causes Cancer ? What treatment is available ?' and the other similar questions.

Interviews make me nervous, especially when it goes live. I was rehearsing in my mind - the answers I’d give and was also reading the recent articles of cancer prevention. I came across this research paper published in American Medical Association's journal in May 1, 2015. A research paper written after following 96,354 Americans belonging to a certain sect over 7 years.

Of the 77,000 who could be tracked, 490 had cancer of the lower intestine (colon/rectum). They analyzed the cancer patients among them on the basis of their food habits.They found out that people who ate meat were at the highest risk of having colo-rectal cancers compared to people who didn’t have meat. Astonishingly it was found that the risk of having colo-rectal cancers was almost half in those who were vegetarians but had fish. (in technical terms, Hazard Ratio 0.57). A big reason to quit meat had just been found, A big reason to focus on fishes.

Not just colo-rectal cancer, food with high intake of meat is also linked with cancers of breast and bladder, heart diseases, diabetes, dementia and so many other chronic diseases. Not to forget, constipation and the discomfort in your tummy after eating meat. I’m trying to balance things here - not all meats are bad, chicken and ostrich meat are considered better than the red meat of four legged animals.

But still, fishes are lot better than chicken; high on omega-3 and other fatty acids, vitamin D and other much needed micro-nutrients. There is a scientific basis to the saying “fish is good for the brain”: Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one major type of Omega-3 fatty acid primarily found in fishes. It is essential for the growth and functional development and maintenance of normal brain functions. Enough of DHA in the diet improves learning ability, whereas deficiencies of DHA are associated with deficits in learning.

Epidemiological studies have also shown a strong correlation between fish consumption and reduction in sudden death from heart attacks. Besides that, consumption of fishes has protective effect against diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis, depression, adult-onset diabetes mellitus, thrombosis, colitis - and the list goes on.

We all want to live a healthy life, and believe me - meat comes as a major obstacle in healthy living. I have quit meat and have fish regularly. I feel lighter, I feel more active and my bowels love me now.


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