Between 1987 and 2004, the eating habits and sicknesses of some 60,000 Swedish women were followed by researchers. The participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding their food habits and given a mammography during the late 80s. The same routine was done in 1997.
The institute for environmental medicine at Karolinska Institute analysed the results and has now concluded that the regular consumption of fatty fish at least once per week reduced the risk for renal cell cancer, the most common form of kidney cancer.
“This is the first study of its kind,” said Alicja Wolk, a professor working on the subject, to Svenska Dagbladet.
“Earlier investigations have not differentiated between oily and lean fish.”
The big difference between oily fish and other fish is the amount of the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Fatty fish have 20 to 30 times more omega-3 fatty acid and three to five times as much vitamin D.
“We think it is a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and D vitamin that works against cancer,” said Susanna Larsson, a doctor with the Karolinska Institute.
“We already knew that fatty fish helps prevent heart disease, and that vitamin D reduced the risk for other cancers.”
The study was published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.