The French have been serving their steaks with potatoes and green beans for years and new research has found that they could be onto a winning combination.
A side of potatoes and green beans may reduce the risk of colon cancer which comes with eating red meat, the study revealed. The resistant starch found in root vegetables, grain and green beans, may actually reverse some of the damaging effects red meat can have on cells.
Participants in the study were given either 300 grams of red meat to eat every day for four weeks, or the same amount with the addition of 40 grams of resistant starch (step forward, potatoes and green beans. They then switched diets, so everyone spent fours weeks on each.
The results showed that eating a diet high in red meat cause an increase in certain microRNAs, which is linked to colon cancer. However, adding those spuds and beans into the mix reduced some of these increases.
Karen Humphreys, a researched at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia said: "Red meat and resistant starch have opposite effects on the colorectal cancer-promoting microRNAs. This finding supports consumption of resistant starch as a means of reducing the risk associated with a high red-meat diet."
The researchers noted that the amount of red meat people ate during the study may exceed levels consumed by most people, but the amount of resistant starch used in the study was realistic.
"Good examples of natural sources of resistant starch include bananas that are still slightly green, cooked and cooled potatoes [such as those in potato salad], whole grains, beans, chickpeas, and lentils," Humphreys said.