I love reading about studies that make heading to the fridge seem like a good idea. And this one hit the mark. Higher levels of vitamin B6 in the blood (created by eating foods high in vitamin B6), were linked with a lower risk of developing lung cancer.
Researchers looked at over 400,000 people, comparing the level of vitamin B6 in their blood with their risk of later developing lung cancer. Those with above median levels of vitamin B6, were found to have a 50% lower risk of developing lung cancer 5 years later.
As a non-smoker, I was happy to see that this was the case for non-smokers, former smokers, and current smokers alike.
But it really made me happy to see the results in former smokers. Over 50% of people who develop lung cancer are former smokers. They have already done the number one thing to lower their risk. What else can they do? This study joins another last month, Cruciferous Vegetables Lower Lung Cancer Risk, that suggest making a few healthy dietary changes might compensate for some of the damage done in those "pre-quit" days.
Those of you who know me, know I don't like to review studies without asking questions. I like to check out the science behind them. In this case the science makes sense. Low vitamin B6 levels are linked with DNA damage in our bodies - a precursor to cancer. Sadly, levels of vitamin B6 appear to be pretty low in the general population.
So -- if you want to join me in the kitchen -- what are some good choices of foods that are high in vitamin B6?
- Enriched cereals
- Fish - tuna, halibut, haddock, salmon
- Long grain rice
- Sweet potatoes
It's important to note that this study was not a supplement study. Some vitamin supplements have actually been linked with a higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Photo by Scott Bauer/USDA