Eat Your Veggies: Study Says Vegetarians Are Less Likely To Get Cancer

Those who eschew steak in favor of tofu, your time has come: New research shows a connection between a lowered risk for some cancers and a vegetarian diet.

Results taken from a 7-year-long study of more than 77,600 Seventh-day Adventists found the 52 percent identifying as vegetarian were at less of a risk for developing colorectal cancer than their omnivorous fellows.

In fact, they were 22 percent less likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer than anyone else in the study, regardless of habits like smoking or family history.

And for those of you who crave tuna, there's good news. The findings indicate pescetarians were the least likely to be diagnosed, with 43 percent less of a risk than meat-eaters.

Dr. Michael Orlich, the study's lead researcher, theorizes seafood-eaters receive the extra boost from regularly consuming high levels of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

The research team specifically picked a large sample group of Seventh-day Adventists because they've been previously shown to maintain better health than their peers of other religions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Although researchers aren't certain why vegetarians were so much less likely to be diagnosed with cancer, they hypothesize it may have to do with the larger-than-average amount of greens taken in during meatless meals.

Orlich told The Wall Street Journal,

Diets high in fiber are linked with decreased [cancer] risk, and fiber comes from whole plant foods, so this could be a major reason why the risk is much lower.

Now that Orlich's initial research has been published, he hopes to keep digging into the world of meat-free meals.

A longer study, examining more types of vegetarians and their health, is on the horizon.