March 6

Could Red Meat Be Damaging Your Colon?

Dietary modifications. Many times, people bristle at being told what to eat and what not to eat. Sometimes it is for the reason of correcting a health condition, other times it can be a tool for prevention. But ultimately it comes down to a personal choice for each individual on whether or not they may choose to indulge in a particular food or not.

Food choices are being linked to health issue more and more, and it only makes sense as what we tend to eat every day is meant to become the building blocks for our bodies. Put in good materials and we should be helping to support a healthier body. Make poor choices, and this can lead to deficiencies, promote inflammation or put us at risk for internal damage.

We all need protein to support our bodies. It provides structure for our muscles and organs and makes enzymes that fuel reactions throughout our bodies. Where we get that protein from though could be that difference of it being helpful or harmful. A new study suggests that for men who consume the most red meat, they may be putting themselves at higher risk for an inflammatory bowel condition called diverticulitis by almost 60%!

Steer Clear Of Too Much Beef!

Higher consumption of red meat has already come under fire because of associated risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer. But diverticulitis, which can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea and constipation, may be another condition that could be triggered by overconsumption. According to the US National Institute of Health, over half the population age 60 and older have these small “pouches” in the lining of the colon, but only around 5% develop diverticulitis where they become inflamed.

The study looked at more than 46,000 male health professionals over 26 years and took into account such factors as older age, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and low fiber intake, which could all increase their risk. After that, the results showed that men who were in the top 20% of red meat consumption (12+ servings/week) were 58% more likely to get diverticulitis than those in the lowest 20% (1-2/week). There was no associated risk with fish or poultry consumption so it looks like a steady diet of steaks and burgers is not the way to go for your digestive tract!

While the study could not prove that the red meat alone directly caused the diverticulitis, the association is cautionary enough to warrant varying your sources of protein in your diet. Many healthier diets focus on plant-based food choices, and substituting some meat with options like beans or nuts and seeds should help cut down on risk. Enjoying a respectable portion of beef a few times weekly did not appear to be so detrimental, so balance in the diet can allow you to enjoy certain foods while still helping support your health. A diet high in fruits and vegetables that deliver plenty of antioxidants to fight inflammation would also be beneficial if you choose to partake of red meat occasionally.

Understanding how different foods affect your body is important to keep in mind when choosing the foods you eat on a regular basis. New research is coming out all the time that helps us determine which ones should be included more and the ones we need to consume less. If it all seems a bit overwhelming, we offer programs to help you find out what foods may be best for your particular health needs and can work with you on building a diet to support your health goals!



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