If you love a hearty chicken salad or a tasty turkey sandwich, we've got some good news for you. Recent research suggests that eating poultry may protect against breast cancer risk later on. This possible health benefit is so powerful that scientists are now suggesting that we sub poultry for red meat.
An August 2019 study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers analyzed the meat-eating habits of 42,012 women for 7.6 years and found that an increased consumption of red meat was linked with an increased risk of breast cancer, while an increased poultry consumption was associated with a decreased breast cancer risk. Follow-ups showed that 1,536 participants had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancers throughout the course of the study.
Women who consumed the most red meat had a 23 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared with women who ate the lowest amount. Women who consumed the most poultry had a 15 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared with women who didn't eat much poultry at all. Interestingly enough, breast cancer risk was reduced even more for women who specifically reported subbing poultry for meat in many of their meals.
"Red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen," said senior author Dale P. Sandler, PhD, in a press release. "Our study adds further evidence that red meat consumption may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer, whereas poultry was associated with decreased risk. While the mechanism through which poultry consumption decreases breast cancer risk is not clear, our study does provide evidence that substituting poultry for red meat may be a simple change that can help reduce the incidence of breast cancer."
Indeed, swapping red meat for poultry might be as easy as enjoying grilled chicken and rice for dinner rather than steak and potatoes. But if you really want to get creative, you might consider trying a Mediterranean-inspired turkey burger instead of a traditional beef burger. Or a mouth-watering chicken tortilla soup might be a good option, especially if you need a good comfort meal on a chillier night.
Who says protecting your health can't be enjoyable, not to mention tasty?