Cancer can devastate us physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and even spiritually. While there are many discussions regarding the potential ‘cures’ of cancer, it is always better and wiser to prevent it from invading your life. One of the most effective ways to fight against this exhaustive villain and cut your risk in half is to keep a close eye on your daily diet and eliminate the foods causing cancer. To know more about the scientifically proven cancer-causing foods, keep reading.
Most Unhealthy Foods Causing Cancer
Health is a wealth that cannot be made in one fine day. To earn it, you need to work towards it right from the beginning by reducing the intake of unhealthy eatables. It is essential to understand that food does have the power to cause cancer! As per research, there were nearly 569,500 deaths by cancer in 2010, and one-third of this figure has been caused by obesity, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, etc. Hence, if you want to ensure overall health and well-being by keeping cancer at bay, stop eating these foods right now. (1) (2) (3)
Refined sugars and the products made with them are the most significant cancer-causing foods identified by far. These include fructose-rich sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and processed sugary items, such as brown sugar, cakes, cookies, pies, juices, sauces, etc. All these work as the sources of significant insulin spikes, which feed the growth of carcinogenic cells. Essentially, cancer cells metabolize refined sugars easily and quickly, which accelerates their proliferation. However, you can always skip refined sugars and opt for healthier options like organic honey, maple sugar, and coconut sugar.
Aerated Drinks And Soda
Soda pops and aerated (carbonated) beverages have always been at the center of controversy for causing health issues like cancer. They are high in calories and have no nutritional value. Moreover, being loaded with HFCS, colorings, food chemicals, and other artificial ingredients, they are considered as bad for all aspects of your health. According to researchers, consuming only two soft drinks a week can acidify your body and double your cancer risk. Dark-colored soda pops also contain 4-methylimidazole (4-MI), a derivative of caramel color, and has been proven to cause cancer.
Multiple studies have revealed that one bottle of soda apparently contains as many as 10 packets of sugar. ‘Diet’ drinks even contain more artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, etc. are even worse than conventional sugar-sweetened ones as they are linked to cancer and a range of birth defects.
Refined ‘White’ Flour
Refining eliminates all nutritional value from flour, which is then bleached with chlorine gas to create that appealing ‘white’ color. But what makes it a cancer-causing agent is its excess carbohydrate content, which leads to increased insulin resistance. It has a very high glycemic index, it spikes insulin levels in the bloodstream rapidly without providing nutritional fuel. This sudden raises in sugar levels feed cancer cells and promotes their growth. Studies have found that regular consumption of such high-glycemic foods increases the chance of breast cancer in women by almost 220 percent.
Grilled Red Meat
Grilled red meat can taste delicious, but consuming a lot of it can increase your chances of developing cancer. When grilled to a certain point, the molecular structure and the chemical composition of red meat get altered. As a result, the meat starts releasing certain carcinogens named ‘heterocyclic aromatic amines’. Studies have proved that having grilled red meat for 10 years daily can increase men’s risk of getting cancer by 22 percent and women’s by 20 percent. Therefore, it is wiser to replace grilling with cooking in skillet, broiling, and baking.
Most of us love processed meat products like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, lunch meats, etc., but you are sending an open invitation to cancer by consuming these. They are processed using chemical preservatives and flavorings, such as sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, etc. These make the products look fresh and get converted into cancer-causing nitrosamines in the body. And indulging in them can make you 50 percent more prone to develop colorectal cancer than others who choose only uncured meat products made from grass-fed sources.
Hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils that are extracted and treated chemically. They are used to preserve processed foods to keep them stable and increase their shelf life. However, the unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids present in them are known to change the structure of cell membranes all over our body, which leads to a host of fatal diseases, including cancer. Though manufacturers are trying to replace these unhealthy oils with palm oils and other safer alternatives, trans fats are still widely used for processing foods.
Potato Chips And French Fries
Potato chips and French fries are the most popular snacks we love to munch. But when the potatoes are treated to high temperatures during frying or baking, a carcinogenic substance named ‘acrylamide’ is formed in them. So, these items should be avoided at all costs.
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Any kind of canned food is dangerous for your health. Most cans have a lining of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical linked to infertility, intestinal damage, heart disease, etc. BPA is also known to cause cancer indirectly through DNA damage and genetic alteration. Therefore, stick to fresh or frozen foods to protect your DNA and prevent cancer.
GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)
Although the GMO industry has been growing exponentially, genetically modified crops cause the rapid growth of tumors and cancer. These days, more than 90% of derivatives of soybeans, corn, canola, etc., are genetically modified. But experts agree that more and more testings were needed before adding GMOs to tons of food items. As a result, the chemicals used to grow the crops infiltrate our entire food supply at an alarming rate. Hence, stick to certified organic and non-GMO products or locally-grown foods.
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Microwave popcorn may seem convenient, but there are significant risks associated with cancer. The packages come lined with a specific class of chemical compounds named perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), recognized as ‘likely carcinogenic’ by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PFOA is linked to infertility, tumor growth, liver, pancreas, and testicle cancers. In addition, another chemical called diacetyl is used in popcorn to add butter flavoring to it, which releases toxic fumes leading to lung damage and cancer. Hence, if you want to stay healthy, opt for organic popcorn and make it in the traditional way.
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Salted, Pickled, And Smoked Foods
All sorts of salted, pickled, and smoked foods have a high risk of cancer. Typically, all these processed foods contain preservatives like nitrates and other additives to get a prolonged shelf life. But as those toxic chemicals accumulate in the body, they cause damage at the cellular level, and you end up developing debilitating diseases like cancer.
In a commercial farming environment, tons of salmons are crammed in a small space, resulting in bacterial, parasitic, and viral outbreaks. In addition, farmed salmons are usually treated with pesticides, antibiotics, flame retardants, etc. They also get contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) during the process.
Farmed salmons do not contain as much vitamin D as wild salmon. They also lack essential omega-3 fatty acids in sufficient amounts.
Diet Tips To Prevent Cancer
Check out these anti-cancer diet tips to keep your cancer risk at the minimum while feeling and looking a lot better from the inside out:
- Try to indulge in organic foods as much as possible
- Avoid foods with labels mentioning ‘diet’, ‘fat-free’, and ‘light’
- Always consume fresh and raw items or stick to their clean frozen counterparts
- Each of your meals should contain plenty of non-starchy vegetables
- Reduce your grain and sugar consumption to a large extent
- Make sure that you use only high-quality coconut oil, olive oil, clarified butter, or grass-fed butter for cooking
- Eat pastured and grass-fed meats and dairy goods
Did You Know?
Almost 98% of all conventional produce like apples, grapes, strawberries, etc., available in stores are recognized as ‘dirty fruits’ by The Environmental Working Group (EWG). Therefore, you are NOT eating healthy unless you choose fruits labeled as ‘organic’ or verified to be ‘pesticide-free’.
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- “Food and Cancer Risk” – cancer.net
- “6 Foods That May Increase Your Risk of Cancer” – healthline.com
- “A factual list of cancer-causing foods and cancer-fighting foods” – aetnainternational.com