Swapping out some of the key components of a full English breakfast could cut your chance of developing cancer, a new study has suggested. Ditching red meat in favour of oily fishes, such as kippers and herring, could be the key to preventing cancer in the future.

New research from Japan claims that red and processed meats can increase the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and bowel cancer. However, increasing your intake of oily fish could help reduce your risk.

Dr Shujuan Xia, of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, explained swapping out much-loved meats for oily fish is more beneficial than eating less red meat, as reported by BirminghamLive. The researcher said: “Forage fish as an alternative to red meat could double or more the number of deaths that could be avoided by simply reducing red meat consumption.

"Our analysis suggests that forage fish is a promising alternative to red meat." He added: “Policies targeting the allocation of forage fish to regions where they are needed could be more effective in maximising the potential of forage fish to reduce the burden of disease."

According to the British Heart Foundation, around 2.3million people in the UK are living with coronary heart disease. It’s estimated around 1.5 million men and 830,000 women.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, with almost 43,000 people being diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK, reported Bowel Cancer UK. Around 268,000 people living in the UK today have been diagnosed with bowel cancer. One in 15 men and one in 18 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime.

Types of forage fish include anchovies, sardines and herring, as well as kippers when smoked. The oily fish is packed with omega-3s, which have been proven to lower the risk factors for heart disease and increase survival rates for bowel cancer.

The study, which was published in the BMJ Global Health journal, examined the potential impact on global mortality rates if people swapped red and processed meats for fish. Researchers analysed projected data for red meat consumption in 2050 across 137 countries, as well as historical data on forage fish catch.

Results of their modelling suggested that replacing more red meat with fish could "potentially offer substantial public health benefits". Dr Xia said: "Although forage fish are not sufficient to replace all red meat, forage fish alone may increase daily consumption of fish to close to the recommended level."