Increased Fish Consumption May be the Key to Avoiding Diabetes and Cancer, According to a Recent Study

A recent study suggests that eating more fish may be the answer to preventing diabetes and cancer.

According to an English study, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK might save up to £600 million annually if people ate one more dish of fish per week than they do now.

Due to improved employee health and fewer sick days taken, the behavioral change has the potential to save businesses up to £360 million annually and avoid thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes and cancer.

According to NHS guidelines,  ‘a healthy, balanced diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oil rich fish’ (2019, NHS). But consumption of seafood is currently estimated to be half of what is advised, at little over one portion per week, and it is declining throughout England.

The University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Risk & Policy Analysts (RPA) and Health Economics Consulting (HEC) completed this exploratory study on behalf of Seafish, the public organization that promotes the growth of the UK seafood industry. They looked into how eating fish might have wider positive effects on the economy in addition to its health benefits.

Compared to other protein sources, fish is lower in fat and a leaner, frequently less processed form of protein. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health, are also found in fatty fish. Consuming more seafood as part of a balanced diet may aid in weight loss, the reduction of obesity, the lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol, and the reduction of obesity.

According to the study, if English people ate one more serving of seafood per week, they might potentially save 4,900 instances of type 2 diabetes and 18,000 cases of cancer overall.

The results showed that the North East of the nation, where seafood consumption is lowest in comparison to the rest of England, would profit the most. Since younger generations consume less fish weekly on average than do people over 55, 22% of all occurrences of avoidable disease would have been averted in the 25–34 age range.

The wider economic advantages of increasing seafood eating and lowering these avoidable cases would amount to £3.5 billion annually in England. Particularly, the NHS would save anything from £270 million to £600 million annually. This comes out to approximately £31,000 to £35,000 for every patient throughout the course of their lifespan.

Unlocking these benefits may only cost the individual, on average, £1.65 per person per week. Improved worker health and reduced sick leave duration would save companies between £160 million and £360 million.

“Diet and lifestyle related diseases have put an already overstretched NHS under mounting pressure,” stated Marcus Coleman, CEO of Seafish. The best way to combat preventable diseases is by a balanced diet, and there is little doubt about the health advantages of increasing your seafood intake. Increasing our intake of fish and shellfish could prevent thousands of deaths annually and provide the UK economy a much-needed boost in an uncertain economic climate.

“Adding more seafood to our diets is affordable, even during a time that household budgets are being stretched due to the cost-of-living crisis. There are many sustainable options, too. A 120g tin of sardines can cost as little as 47p and are rich in Omega 3 that is crucial for good heart health. Pollock, a popular white fish, has an average price of £6.20 per kg, compared to £8.33 per kg for beef and £6.95 per kg for pork,” he said.

 “This research asks the question whether there would be significant socio-economic benefits for the English population if there was an increased consumption of fish. The answer is a clear yes. The reduced risk of developing both type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer has a huge ripple effect, from improved quality of life for individuals, all the way to influencing government funding. Prevention of illness through diet is an accessible and realistic way to tackle these conditions.” stated Teresa Fenn, the director of the RPA team that oversaw the project.

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