Although there have already been plenty of reports encouraging the avoidance or decrease of red meat consumption, there’s one more to add to the list. Men, in particular, who eat a considerable amount of red meat are at higher risk of developing a painful, chronic colon condition.
What We Already Know
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a variety of foods, mostly plant-based. Ideally, one’s plate would be half vegetables and fruits, a quarter whole grains and legumes, and a quarter protein. Unfortunately, many Americans are still plating up unprocessed red meats (burgers and steaks) as their protein of choice.
Choosing lean meats (poultry), fish, and beans as a protein is better overall for heart and colon health. One theory for the disturbance that red meat causes in the body is that it interferes with the gut microbiome. This negatively affects proper digestion. Other evidence points to consumption of red meat fueling low-level inflammation. Chronic inflammation, at any level, is dangerous and has been known to increase risk of cancer.
So, Now What Are They Saying?
A new study out of Boston found that men who ate over 10 servings of red meat per week were over 50% more likely to develop diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a pouch in the lining of the colon that becomes inflamed of infected. Food and bacteria get trapped in the pocket(s), which creates the perilous condition.
This inflammatory disease of the colon causes extreme pain, constipation, and nausea. Diverticulitis can result in dangerous complications such as blockages and/or tears in the colon wall. If the increase of heart disease or cancer didn’t scare you, perhaps the results of this study may.
Senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan noted that in this study, there was no link between poultry or fish and the risk of diverticulitis. What this means is that trading out a piece of grilled chicken for a hamburger can greatly decrease a man’s risk of developing diverticulitis. The study was conducted over a 26-year period and included over 46,000 male participants.
How to Proceed
If you love a good steak or burger, you don’t need to remove it completely from your diet (unless your health practitioner has made that recommendation.) Aim to keep your servings to three or less per week. There are many delicious and nutrient-rich replacements for high protein dishes besides red meat.
A plant-based diet will keep you heart-healthiest, but chicken, turkey, and fish are completely acceptable sources of main protein on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate. Whichever you choose, remember to combine double its portion with vegetables and fruit. For more articles on healthy eating, check out www.GetThrive.com