Chicken could reduce breast cancer risk when used to replace beef


Most of us get our daily protein intake from two main sources: Red meat from beef and white meat from poultry. But too much intake of red meat is not exactly the best for you, despite being rich in protein. Different kinds of meat from livestock have been linked to various types of cancers, and processed meat even more so.

If you want to avoid meat but don’t want to go vegan or pescatarian, chicken is definitely a good alternative to use. It is leaner than red meat and contains less fat. Chicken is also devoid of toxic mercury which is present in some fishes. Those on a pescatarian diet are at risk of mercury poisoning in the long term as the toxic chemical accumulates in their bodies over time and causes ailments.

And here’s another reason for you to enjoy that lean chicken breast. Eating chicken meat is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. The second most common kind of cancer in women, breast cancer affects one in eight American females during their lifetime.

In a 2019 study, researchers looked at how different kinds of meat were linked to breast cancer. They also scrutinized how meats were cooked to see if these contributed a role to breast cancer development. The scientists had access to data from more than 40,000 female participants from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Data obtained from these participants aged 35 to 74 years old included medical histories, cancer incidences in their families and dietary preferences.

Poultry doesn’t “chicken out” when it comes to protecting against cancer

During the 2019 study, the team found that volunteers who ate more chicken meat had a lesser risk of developing breast cancer. A substitution model replacing red meat with poultry reflected the same result: Increased consumption of chicken meat was linked to a smaller chance of having breast cancer. The researchers concluded that replacing red meat with poultry could reduce the risk of breast cancer in women.

The study followed earlier research highlighting the protective properties of poultry against cancer. A 2000 study found that white meat did not cause breast cancer risk to increase regardless of how it is cooked. A subsequent study done in Uruguay four years later mentioned that eating more skinless chicken meat was associated with less breast cancer risk compared to eating fried chicken.

Aside from chicken, you can also supplement your diet with other foods that fight the big C. Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) and asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida) are two such foods that protect against breast cancer and other kinds of cancers. Studies have shown the ability of these two against cancer cells.

F. assa-foetida is commonly used as a spice for Indian dishes such as curries. But in 2017, Iranian scientists found that it significantly impacted breast cancer cells implanted in laboratory mice. They discovered that asafoetida caused tumors in affected mice to shrink in size, facilitated necrosis in some sections of the tumors and inhibited the spread of cancer cells to other organs.

On the other hand, F. ananassa needs no further explanation. Strawberries are common snack fruits known for their juiciness and nutritive benefits. A 2016 study looked at polyphenol-rich strawberry extract and its effects on aggressive cancer cells. The researchers behind the study found that strawberries blocked the division cycle of cancer cells, suppressed certain genes responsible for cancer metastasis and reduced the volume of tumors. has more about chicken and other foods that protect against cancer.

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