You've probably seen the old ads on television from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association with Hollywood cowboy Sam Elliott intoning: "Beef. It's what's for dinner."
Although U.S. beef consumption is down from 79 pounds per person per year in 1985 to around 50 pounds, that's still way too much. We've often reported that eating red meat amps up all causes of death by 20 percent, and now there's even more evidence of the harm it can do. A new study found a 22 percent increased risk of breast cancer among women who regularly ate red meat during their early adulthood (about 10 servings per week) compared with those who ate less than one and a half servings per week.
But fortunately, the study also shows that you're not doomed if you were a youthful red-meat eater. You can slash your risk for breast cancer by making changes in your diet starting right now. If you're premenopausal and you eliminate one serving of red meat from your diet and add one serving of skinless poultry, you'll reduce your risk of breast cancer by over 17 percent; do that after menopause and your risk declines 24 percent.
We say, imagine how much healthier you'd be if you limited your red meat intake to no more (and often less) than one 3- to 6-ounce serving a week, and added three weekly servings of omega-3-rich fish like salmon and ocean trout and nine servings of veggies and fruit a day. How ironic: You'll beef up your health if you skip the beef.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.