The Red Meat-Cancer Connection

Yet another study—this one including more than half a million people—confirms what our docs have been warning us about: Eating red meat increases cancer risk. So we can’t help but wonder, Why is red meat so bad? Recent research revealed at least part of the answer as chronic inflammation. Scientists discovered that red meat introduces a certain sugar molecule that the body doesn’t recognize, therefore causing an inflammatory immune response. This response leads to chronic inflammation—a known risk factor for cancer. But there is good news: As the inflammation goes down, so does the risk. Speaking of chronic inflammation, instead of using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) to reduce it, simply reach in your spice cabinet. According to Bharat Aggarwal, PhD, professor of cancer medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, natural anti-inflammatories like curcumin (found in turmeric and curry powder) are effective against chronic inflammation without the side effects of prescription or OTC drugs. Aggarwal recommends taking 500 mg of curcumin a day.