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Food tips to live longer and healthier

Food tips to live longer and healthier

April 28, 2023
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Meat, there are those who never miss meat, those who limit it and those who have really given up on it, sometimes with some doubts as to whether or not they are making the correct choice. Two very recent scientific studies shed light on this topic and clearly show that those who limit meat live healthier. But let's try to understand better.

Meat, a source of sustenance but without exaggerating

Meat has always been part of our diet, it was, indeed, the main food for prehistoric man and its availability could determine the difference between living and dying. And the fame and importance of meat has practically never wavered, since meat remains an excellent source of protein and iron, up to the present day. In recent years, however, a new awareness has been gaining ground and that is that meat can, if consumed in excess or if subjected to particular processes, cause damage to our body. Studies have shown that those who regularly consume red meat, processed or unprocessed, have a higher long-term risk of developing cellular degeneration of the colon and beyond.

Meat and tumors, a study deepens the link

The first research was published in the journal BMC Medicine by a team from the University of Oxford (Watling et al, BMC Med, 2022). The scientists drew on lifestyle and health data from 472 377 volunteers participating in the large UK Biobank study. The volunteers were followed up for 11 years to assess their health and to compare it with their food choices. What has emerged is that those who consume red or processed meat in low quantities, namely less than five portions a week, have a lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who consume more than 5 portions a week. Postmenopausal vegetarian women who say they do not consume red meat or processed meat have a lower risk of developing breast cancer, as well as have a lower body mass index, compared to women of the same age who consume these foods. Vegetarian men who do not eat red meat but who do consume fish have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer than men who also consume red and processed meat.

Less meat and more health, the study

The second study was published, like the previous one, by the same team from the University of Oxford in the journal BMC Medicine (Papier et al, BMC Medicine, 2021). In this case, the researchers focused on the effects that a high consumption of meat, both poultry and red meat, can have on the body and in particular on the risk of developing diseases other than cancer. Again, the scientists analyzed data from volunteers who had joined the UK Biobank study, for a total of 474 985 people, all adults. Study participants were followed up for a total of 8 years. What emerged is that a high consumption of red meat, both processed and unprocessed, is associated with an increased risk of developing pneumonia, heart disease, diverticula, colon polyps and diabetes. In particular, each more serving of 70 grams per day of red meat, processed and unprocessed, leads to a 15% increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and to a 30% increase in the risk of developing diabetes. Scientists have observed that poultry should also be eaten in moderate quantities. In fact, every 30 gram increase per day of this type of meat can lead to a 17% increase in the risk of developing reflux and a 15% increase in the risk of diabetes.


Legumes, fruit, vegetables, whole grains but also fish, these are the foods to favor for a long and healthy life. Red meat is a source of protein and iron and helps prevent anemia, so its contribution to health is undoubted, but to reduce the risk of disease it should be limited, as well as processed meat and poultry.

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