In this month’s ‘You Matter To Us’ blog, Thomson & Bancks’ Head of Medical Negligence, Lucy Sherry explores meat consumption and its effect on health and the planet, in acknowledgement of National Vegetarian Week.
Most of us are aware that we should be eating more fruit and veg and that Western meat-heavy diets contribute to our high colon and breast cancer rates. For instance, large studies in England and Germany have found that vegetarians were about 40% less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters. This increase has been found out partially to be down to the fact that HCAs, a family of mutagenic compounds (carcinogenic agents – those which cause cancer), are produced during the cooking process of meat and fish. It is also because meat is devoid of fibre which cleans out our gut and other nutrients which have a protective anti-oxidant effect.
Public Health England have long promoted 5 different portions of fruit and veg per day as being an achievable target but the NHS website has now increased this suggestion based upon new data from more than 350 worldwide studies; “Forget five a day, eat 10 portions of fruit and veg to cut risk of early death,” reports the Guardia, following a major review which found people who regularly ate 10 portions of fruit and veg a day had a significantly lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and strokes. Researchers estimated that globally, a total of 5.6 million early deaths in 2013 were down to eating less than 500g a day of fruit and vegetables.
The following specific fruit and vegetables were found to help reduce the risk of:
Eating less saturated fats in meat and replacing them with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat like vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, reduces obesity too which, of course, is linked to heart disease and Type II Diabetes.
However, there are increasing reports of the damage to our planet that the high demands for meat create, including the following:
In conclusion, ‘Meat-free Mondays’ are not a bad idea for both your own health benefits and to help save this overcrowded planet we are fortunate enough to call home!
Lucy Sherry, Solicitor-Advocate; Head of Medical Negligence specialises in medical negligence litigation, previously representing the NHS Litigation Authority and one of the GP Unions. Lucy now works with injured individuals and bereaved families to achieve compensation for adverse outcomes. Lucy has a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge, regularly delivering medico-legal training to lawyers, attending many hours of medical lectures each year to keep abreast of changes in treatments, and gaining an insight into new health and medical findings to share with Thomson & Bancks’ clients and visitors to this blog.
Blog: Going Sugar-free this Lent
Blog: Antibiotics in Animal Feed & the Rise of the Superbug; 1 Reason Why I was Vegetarian!
Blog: Alcohol; a harmless social escape or a dangerous poison?
Blog: Our annual Christmas binge & January famine!
Blog: Battling Stress at Work
Blog: The Taboos About Men’s Mental Health
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