White meat can lessen risk of liver cancer, finds study

By Oli Haenlein

- Last updated on GMT

The study showed that a higher intake of poultry lowered the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma
The study showed that a higher intake of poultry lowered the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma

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Consuming lots of white meat and fish can lessen your chance of developing liver cancer, according to research.

A study published in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics journal, found that "a high level of white meat or fish consumption can reduce the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) significantly".​ It also showed that the intake of red meat and processed meat is not associated with HCC risk.

HCC is one of the most common cancers worldwide, accounting for the majority of liver cancers. The study was conducted to help to clarify what the main risk factors for the disease are. The study said: "Considering the rising incidence of HCC, especially in Europe and North America, identifying new risk factors and protective factors is important for HCC prevention, which will provide new strategies to lower its incidence."

The results from the systematic review, which used information from between 1956 and 2013 to come to conclusions, said that a higher intake of fish and poultry lowered the risk of HCC. It read: "Nutritionally, fish and white meat are a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and have less cholesterol and saturated fat compared with red meat. Substantial evidence indicates that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have some anti-inflammatory potential via inhibiting the synthesis of IL-1 and TNF 44, which might help to prevent the occurrence of HCC considering that chronic inflammation plays an important role in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma."

It continued that, despite previous studies suggesting that a high intake of red meat and processed meat were associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, "in the present meta-analysis, we found no significant association between HCC and red meat or processed meat consumption".

While it said that further studies were needed to confirm the results, it added: "Our findings have important public health implications for the prevention of HCC by changing diet patterns."

The study was carried out by the Department of Radiation Therapy, Zhejiang Cancer Hospital, Hangzhou, China, supported by the fund of Zhejiang Province Medical and Health Science and Technology Project.

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