When it comes to cancer, red meat is often thought to be the bad guy. But new research from the University of Chicago has shown that a nutrient found in red meat and dairy products may support our body's ability to infiltrate and fight off cancer cells.
The nutrient in question is called trans-vaccenic acid. TVA is a long-chain fatty acid that our bodies cannot make by themselves.
"Circulating TVA in humans is mainly from ruminant-derived foods, including beef, lamb and dairy products such as milk and butter," study author Jing Chen, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, told Newsweek.
TVA is just one of roughly 700 known food-sourced metabolites that circulate in our blood. In the new study, published in the journal Nature, Chen's team collected these compounds into a database and tested whether any of the molecules could affect the immune system's ability to fight cancer cells.