Red Meat Consumption May Increase Breast Cancer Risk in Women

A recent report published in the International Journal of Cancer says that eating red meat could be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women. The researchers made this statement after a propective analysis of the health and diet data for a period of seven and half years provided by 42,012 women.

Experts categorize beef meat as a red meat which many different studies have recommended we should try to cut down from our diet. Whiles these studies say that beef meat holds a number of health risks, there are still quite a lot of health benefits that one can derive from eating beef.

Red Meat May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer and White Meat May Reduce Risk

Researchers led by Dale P. Sandler, an epidemiologist with the National Institutes of Health, observed during a prospective study that women who eat red meat could be at higher risk of invasive breast cancer as compared to women who eat white meat (poultry) which reduces the risk of cancer incidence. The study controlled for age, physical activity, body mass index, calorie consumption and other diet and health characteristics.

“Previous studies have looked at this link but produced inconsistent results,” said the senior author, Dale P. Sandler.

In their study, they noted that out of the 42,012 women whose health and diet records of meat consumption were analysed, those with high red meat consumption were 23 percent more likely to develop invasive cancer. Conversely, those women with the highest consumption of white meat were 15 percent less likely to develop cancer.

They also noted that these associations were stronger for breast cancer which arose in the women after menopause. In addition, the association of reduced breast cancer risk was particularly strong when the women’s total consumption of meat was held constant and white meat was substituted for red meat.

They concluded that, “in that statistical model women with the highest ratio of white meat to red meat consumption were at a 28 percent reduced risk.”

Eat With Discretion

Meat is a rich source of protein, saturated fat, iron, zinc and B vitamins. All these nutrients have very important functions which they play in the body. However, since consumption of some meat have been linked with increased incidences of cancer and other diseases, it is needful that you consume meat with discretion.

Many of these health risk associations are found to be higher for processed red meat. Raw meat can carry dangerous bacteria so it is important that meat is stored, cooked and handled appropriately. Wash your hands after handling raw meat and wash any utensils and crockery that have been used for raw meat.

If you have been advised by your doctor or dietitian to cut down on red meat, you have the option of resorting to consuming poultry or fish. These too have as much health benefits as you can derive from eating red meat even though they too have their own specific health risks.

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