Welcome back to our series on how to get (and then prevent) cancer!
Let’s do a little recap of this series.
Cancer is diagnosed at an alarming rate (15 million new cases each year). Of these, 5 million cases are preventable from lifestyle and diet changes.
This series is all about the evidence behind cancer prevention; I’m revealing what to do (and sometimes more importantly, what NOT to do) in simple and sustainable ways.
HOW TO GET CANCER: EAT RED & PROCESSED MEAT
This is another one that may make you mad.
But please don’t shoot the messenger. Hear me (and the evidence) out.
First off, let’s define red and processed meat. Red meat comprises all flesh from domesticated animals that have more red than white muscle fibers. In the studies I refer to, it means beef, pork, lamb and goat. Processed meat refers to meats preserved by smoking, curing or salting or addition of chemical preservatives.
There is convincing evidence (from 16 meta-analyses) that show red and processed meats increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
That’s not all, my friends.
Studies show red meat is also a culprit for pancreas, bladder, breast, and lung cancer. Processed meat has the same risks, but also increases your risk for stomach cancer.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article published in Critical Reviews in Oncology.
HOW RED & PROCESSED MEAT INCREASES YOUR RISK OF CANCER
The mechanism for red and processed meat consumption increasing the risk of cancer is not fully understood.
It is hypothesized that red and processed meats contain mutagenic compounds such as heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and n-nitroso compounds.
Specifically for colon cancer, it is thought that excess heme iron from red meat sources plays a role.
HOW TO AVOID RED & PROCESSED MEAT-INDUCED CANCER
I don’t want to be all doom and gloom here.
So I want to briefly offer you some ways to decrease your cancer risk. But be on the lookout for more in-depth information coming soon.
First of all, you can switch out your red and processed meat for foods that we know decrease the risk of the same cancers. This means fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Also, move your body (exercise) and load up on other sources of dietary fiber.
In health & happiness,