If you’ve been looking for a great reason to fast in the traditional Orthodox manner, but you find there’s a lot of outside pressure to do otherwise, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has a really good practical one: it apparently reduces cancer risk. According to an article published March 9, a plant-based diet will substantially reduce your risk of certain types of cancers. But here’s the real twist: the healthiest eaters were those who ate a plant-based diet combined with seafood.
For our Orthodox NFTU readers, such a diet should sound vaguely familiar.
The study was based on surveys of 96,000 members of the Seventh-Day Adventist church in the United States, a Protestant group which advocates for vegetarian or variant diets.
The articles abstract also demonstrates another interesting fact: there is little difference between lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets and vegan diets in terms of cancer risk. The lowest incidence of colorectal cancer was shown to be among pesco-vegetarian eaters.
The study also found that even reducing meat intake partially during the week reduced cancer risk. In short, if you’re avoiding meat a good part of the week and opting for vegetarian and seafood dishes, you will still reduce your cancer risk overall. The Huffington Post and Fox News crunch the results out slightly differently, but for those following a traditional fasting regimen, it’s helpful to know that those 40-day periods reduce your cancer risk and make you healthier overall. Besides benefits to the heart which are well documented, this study once again demonstrates that too much meat in one’s diet may not be a good thing, and that fasting days are as much to one’s physical benefit as their spiritual benefit.
So make sure to keep your health in mind when that one Lenten meal looks it could use an egg on it.