(NaturalNews) Here's good news for both you and your best friend: one out of three cancer deaths in humans as well as dogs can be prevented by simple, natural diet changes. That's the conclusion of research just presented by Demian Dressler, DVM, at the 2010 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago, Illinois.
So how could so many fatal cancers be stopped? Dr. Dressler, known as the "dog cancer vet" because of his work in unraveling the intricacies of canine cancer, said the key is severely limiting snack foods for humans and dogs that contain ingredients rich in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s (found in cold water fish such as salmon and other foods including flax oil and walnuts) and omega-6s (found in meats and some widely used vegetable oils such as corn oil) are essential fatty acids (EFAs) that must be consumed for the body to function properly. Omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation, blood clotting and cell proliferation, while omega-3 fatty acids decrease those functions of the immune system. The problem is that the typical American diet -- for people as well as their pets -- tends to be overloaded with omega-6s and deficient in omega-3s.
In fact, the American Institute for Cancer Research reports that the current ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids eaten by most Americans is about 15-to-1; however, a healthy ratio is closer to 4-to-1. This is a serious problem because, as NaturalNews has previously reported, scientists have linked this imbalance to autoimmunity, allergy, heart disease, arthritis, asthma and cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/026383_health_ome...).
The glut of omega-6s comes mostly from vegetable oils, such as soy oil, which are used in most of the snack foods, cookies, crackers, sweets, fast foods and -- in the case of dogs' diets -- doggie treats and many commercial dog foods. The result is an eating pattern that promotes inflammation. That, Dr. Dressler stated, creates an environment conducive to cancer in dogs and people.
Another important way to reduce fatal cancers in humans and their canine companions is to keep weight at a healthy level. Dr. Dressler noted studies show obesity in both dogs and humans limits the production of a hormone dubbed adiponectin that inhibits the growth of cancer cells. He recommended reducing calories and especially staying away from sugar -- not only because it contributes to obesity, but also because it is now known to feed cancer cells and spur their growth.
A panel meeting at the 2010 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo panel encouraged pet food manufacturers to consider the health implications of their products in order to improve animals' health. According to the media statement, Kelly S. Swanson, associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggested the ideal blend of fiber for dog food is about 75 to 80 percent insoluble and 20 to 25 percent soluble. What's more, adding quality prebiotics to pet foods could also enhance dogs' health.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.