A recent review published in the International Journal of Cancer has evaluated studies researching the connection between red and processed meats and breast cancer.
The review found that consuming processed meat was associated with a 9 percent increase in breast cancer risk, while unprocessed red meat was associated with a 6 percent increase.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, and the second-leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously labeled processed meats as a carcinogen, especially related to colon cancer. Reducing the lifestyle risks associated with breast cancer is an important step in reducing its occurrence.
Processed meats, like hotdogs, cold cuts, and bacon, have been shown to increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to some cancers. As this information surfaces, it’s important that we take a hard look at the types of food we are putting into our bodies, and the role of nutrition in our overall health.
We’ve talked before about how a healthy lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent cancer. Processed meats contain high levels of nitrites, sodium, and sugars. Many of these meats are preserved by smoking them, which adds flavor, but also increases exposure to carcinogens.
What we eat is a major factor in our overall health, and the right diet can help to starve cancerous cells while promoting healthy ones.
If you’ve been following TTAC, you’ve likely heard from our experts about the anti-angiogenic diet, ketogenic diet, and importance of eating organic, whole foods. The truth is that these processed meats, an institution in the standard American diet, are not good for your health, and may increase your risk for cancer.
Cancer cells are astoundingly resilient, with the ability to multiply and mutate, avoiding apoptosis (the body’s way of destroying damaged cells.) They can also utilize angiogenesis to create new blood vessels and grow. This is why cancer, left unchecked, will always grow and spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, and brain.
This is called metastatic breast cancer and is associated with a significantly lower survival rate.
How to Avoid Processed Meat
#1. Eat organic! There are several ways to fight cancer, and the right nutrition is key among them. You should always seek organic, natural food sources free of GMOs and other carcinogens and toxins.
#2. Get plenty of vitamin D. Nutrient deficiency is another factor in breast cancer, and getting the right nutrients is imperative for maintaining your health and combatting cancer. Vitamin D is especially important, as its been shown to significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in women.
#3. Always read the label. Understanding meat labels is another way to make sure you know exactly what you’re putting in your body, and how to find healthy, natural alternatives to processed foods. Other nutrients, like vitamin C, iodine, and iron can help protect you from breast cancer, and keep your body healthy and strong.