The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this week that there is a connection between red meat and processed meats and colorectal cancer. Processed meats – including sausages, salami, hot dogs, ham, and smoked meats – contain synthetic nitrites which can convert to nitrosamines in the body and these nitrosamines increase the cancer risk.
Nitrates are found naturally in some vegetables and fruits and do help with lowering blood pressure and keeping blood vessels “healthy”. The synthetic version used in processed meats are not beneficial.
So … what are we to do?
- Avoid processed meats.
- Select skinless poultry, fish, and legumes for chief protein sources.
- Limit beef, pork, veal, lamb to occasional intake AND limit portion to 3-4 oz serving.
- Increase dietary fiber with whole grain breads and grains and 5 or more servings from vegetables, greens and fruit per day.
- Use the PLATE MODEL as your guide. Your meal plate should consist of 1/2 fruits & vegetables, 1/4 of lean protein, and 1/4 grain or starchy vegetable.
- Increase intake of CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES (Bok choy, red/green cabbage, kale, cauliflour, broccoli, turnip, arugula). These antioxidant-rich vegetables scavenge cancer causing “free radicals” in our bodies and reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Limit exposure to high-heat grill or pan by turning meats on those surfaces frequently and avoid eating charred food surfaces. High-heat contact with red meats produces Heterocyclic amine (HCA) compounds, which are carcinogenic. Marinating meats prior to grilling or pan frying can reduce the development of HCA compounds.
- Enjoy more slow-cooked meats in stews, soups, tagine dishes that includes vegetables. Nutritious and Delicious!