ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, young women who eat less red meat may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

Researchers studied women between the ages of 26 and 45.  These participants were studied for 20 years. Researchers looked at these women’s diet and their risk of breast cancer.  At the conclusion of the study, 2,830 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Researchers found that the women who reported the highest consumption of red meat had a 22 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

“Each serving per day increase in red meat was associated with 13 percent increase in risk of breast cancer,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers also found that eating more poultry, fish, nuts, and legumes can lower the risk of breast cancer.

Researchers determined that replacing one daily serving of red meat with a serving of another high protein food may reduce the risk of breast cancer by 14 percent.

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The researchers included unprocessed and processed red meat in this study. They categorized chicken and turkey as poultry; and tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines as fish.

Researchers took into account other factors such as weight, race, family history of breast cancer, history of benign breast disease, smoking habits, and oral contraceptive that could affect the risk of breast cancer.

They found that only oral contraceptives seemed to further increase the risk associated with red meat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American woman. The CDC recommends women receive regular mammograms, which can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.

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The findings were published in the journal BMJ.