According to a Harvard study, eating a lot of red meat in early adult life may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer.
Researchers say replacing red meat with a combination of beans, peas and lentils, poultry, nuts, and fish may reduce the risk in younger women.
Past research has shown that eating a lot of red and processed meat probably increases the risk of bowel cancer.
The new data comes from a study tracking the health of 89,000 women aged 24 to 43.
A team, led by Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, analyzed the diets of almost 3,000 women who developed breast cancer.
“Higher red meat intake in early adulthood may be a risk factor for breast cancer,” they report in the British Medical Journal.
“And replacing red meat with a combination of legumes, poultry, nuts and fish may reduce the risk of breast cancer.”
Guidelines from the American Cancer Society also suggest limiting how much processed and red meat are consumed.
Meanwhile, a separate study found that women with large numbers of moles on their skin may be at higher risk of breast cancer.