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Fish could fall foul for men

It’s no new news that eating oily fish to get a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids to helps prevent heart disease. But according to Science Daily and researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, gobbling down salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout may not be as good for men as was once thought.

Analyzing data from a nationwide study involving more than 3,400 men, researchers at the Center found that men with the highest blood percentages of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish that has been found to lower inflammation and protect against heart disease), are more than twice as likely to develop aggressive, high-grade prostate cancer compared with men with lower DHA levels.

“We were stunned to see these results,” said Theodore M. Brasky, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Hutchinson Center’s Cancer Prevention Program. “Our findings turn what we know – or rather what we think we know—about diet, inflammation and the development of prostate cancer on its head.”

So should men ditch their fish oil supplements and throw their daily catch back into sea? Brasky and his colleagues don’t think so.

“Overall, the beneficial effects of eating fish to prevent heart disease outweigh any harm related to prostate cancer risk,” says Brasky. “What this study shows is the complexity of nutrition and its impact on disease risk, and that we should study such associations rigorously rather than make assumptions.”

Could Vitamin D save lives? 

Doctors have for a long time been baffled at why black people are more likely to suffer from high-blood pressure than white people, making them more prone to heart disease and strokes. Vitamin D levels are already known to have an effect on blood pressure, and according to a study by the University of Rochester Medical Center published by Science Daily, having darker skin may mean you’re less able to produce vitamin D. In a study of over 7,000 people, researchers found that 61 percent of black people studied had low levels of vitamin D compared with only 11 percent of white people who took part.

“Our study confirms that vitamin D represents one piece of the complex puzzle of race and blood pressure,” says Kevin Fiscella MD, professor of Family Medicine at URMC. “We believe that simple interventions such as taking vitamin D supplements might have a positive impact on racial disparities.”

Foods that are rich in Vitamin D include mushrooms, especially shiitake mushrooms, most oily fish like tuna and salmon, and eggs.

Should you graze or wait to lose weight?

On one hand there are health professionals who advise us to eat between five and seven times a day, especially if we want to lose weight. Smaller meals, they say, are easier to digest and eating regularly can speed up your metabolism by making your digestive system work throughout the day.

The other school of thought focuses on the hormones and physical mechanisms in the body that trigger hunger and the feeling of being full. The idea here is that if you eat when you aren’t hungry you upset your hormone levels and encourage the body to store fat because it’s not in an optimum state to receive it.

So who’s right?

Gary Schwartz, a researcher with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says, “There’s no strong data to say either approach is more effective.” According to Schwartz, losing weight is still all about whether or not you you’re eating too many calories. “There needs to be an emphasis on reducing calorific intake overall,” he says, “whether that’s by decreasing meal size and/or decreasing meal frequency.”