Cancer has been one of the leading causes of death on various parts of the world that affects people from all walks of life. Statistics show that around 7.6 million people worldwide die from cancer every year. It usually develops in older people but there is also a higher risk on people who has unhealthy diet, bad habits (smoking, alcohol, etc.) and no physical activity. Though the number has significantly gone down through early detection and treatment, there are lots of prevention measures we can do. Now, check on your fridge or mark out these 16 Cancer-causing foods you must avoid on your grocery list.
Science also paved way for altered crops and called those as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). For example, scientists include a special gene Bt-toxin (derived from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis) that makes crops like corn and cotton plants resistant to pests. Because it help increase in production and sales, many farms have adopted this. Today, more than 90 percent of U.S. corn crops, soy and other crops came from genetically modified seeds.
2. Canned foods
Another food that increases cancer risk is canned food. The can itself has a synthetic lining called bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been proven to genetically alter the brain cells of rats. BPA is also present on other food storages like thermal paper, plastic goods, dental composites and water lines. Then imagine what is inside that can. The food there has been packed with lots of preservatives to enhance its taste and maintain its freshness.
3. Salty, pickled and smoked foods
Speaking of preservatives, these salty, pickled and smoked foods also have loads of it to prolong shelf life. The combination of salt and other additives on these types of how the food is processed can lead to weight gain and higher risk of cancer and other related health problems. Don’t worry, small and regulated servings of these foods are tolerable for the body.
4. Processed food products
Aside from the crops, 80% of the processed food products in the U.S. also contain genetically modified ingredients. Though it only takes you minutes to cook these hotdogs, sausages and bacons, etc, these processed meats contain chemical preservatives like sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite to maintain its redness thus looking fresh. Those chemicals when digested become nitrosamine which said to be the culprit on how these food products increase the risk of cancer. So when in supermarkets, check the labels and go for nitrate-free, uncured and grass-fed meat.
5. Grilled Red meat
Then you might think that it is better to prepare your own meat, right? It sure tastes delicious as part of your main course. But be sure that the meat is made from organic, grass-fed beef. Anything less than that is bad for your health. Plus, grilling red meat changes its the molecular and chemical structure, making things worse.
6. Microwave popcorn
Movie marathon nights are not complete without munching these delicious and easy to prepare microwave popcorns. But do you know that the popcorn bag’s inner linings produce perfluorooctanoic acid when heated which is said to be linked on increased risks of liver and prostate cancer. Plus, the popcorn itself is not made from organic corns (most likely that is GMO) and many of its ingredients went through different artificial processes. Give up the convenience and start making your own popcorn.
7. Potato chips
Not just popcorns, you should also stop eating potato chips. Research shows that frying potatoes produces the highest acrylamide formation. Even roasting and baking whole potatoes releases (lesser)acrylamide. Acrylamide is classified as a “probable human carcinogen” according to International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency under World Health Organization (WHO). If you really like to have some potatoes, better boil or microwave whole potatoes with skin as these don’t create acrylamide.
8. Processed white flour
Most of the processed foods in the market contains refined flour.What seems to be the problem with that? During the process of refining flour, all its nutritional value is washed away. It is also bleached with chlorine gas to enhance its appearance. What remains on the white flour is its high glycemic index that rapidly raises blood sugar levels in our bodies. As mentioned, simple sugars aid faster growth of abnormal cells and can later on develop as cancer. Thus, making the processed foods with refined flour as cancer-causing foods we should avoid.
9. Hydrogenated oils
Oil, by nature, is harmless. But in the process of getting hydrogenated to get longer shelf life, the oil is heated with hydrogen and other metal catalysts. Through the process, it replaces the healthy fatty acids, responsible for proper functions of the brain cell, hormones, glands, cell wall, oxygen transport and digestive tract operation, with transfats that develops high blood sugar and low oxygen levels that are highly susceptible for cancer.
10. Refined sugars
You have probably heard that sugars feed cancer cells, right? Not all sugars. Our body needs simple sugars (example, food with carbs) to feed our cells to function normally. What we need to avoid are those refined sugars that rapidly spike insulin levels, causing the cancer cells to grow more. As supported by studies, the intake of refine sugars are linked to overweight/obesity and lack of physical activities, therefore making our bodies more vulnerable to 10 kinds of cancer.
11. Artificial sweeteners
Yes, it is not just the actual refined sugar you should avoid but also those fructose-rich sweeteners. According to a scientific review issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), more than 20 separate research studies found that one of the most common artificial sweeteners, aspartame, have caused various illnesses including cancer.
12. Non-organic produce
Now, you are on the right track to think that we should go natural. We should choose to eat fruits as our source of nutrients. Just be sure that these are organic fruits that don’t use pesticides, okay? According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), 98 percent of all conventional produce are contaminated with cancer-causing pesticides. So how do we avoid that? Support and avail fruits to your nearest local farmers’ market. It’s more likely that they grow fruits the natural way.
13. Farmed salmon
Same thing goes in buying fish. We better buy fish straight from the fishermen. We can be sure that those grew in the wild and natural way, not like the 60 percent of U.S. farmed salmons that grow in a crowded environment. According to Dr. David Carpenter, Director of Institute of Health and the Environment at the University of Albany, farmed salmon is another high-risk cancer food. It lacks Vitamin D and is often contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), flame retardants, pesticides, and antibiotics.
14. Anything “diet”, “lite” or “fat-free”
You might also be encouraged by the catchy ads you see to try “diet”, “lite” and even “fat-free” products. But what they don’t say is that those labels were achieved through a chemical process of removing fat or natural calories that the products went through. Those ads were lies. You won’t achieve celebrity-like bodies just by taking those.
15. Soda and Carbonated Beverages
Warning! This may break the hearts of soda lovers. According to Consumer Reports, many types of artificial caramel coloring used in dark-colored soda has a potential carcinogen called 4-methylimidazole (4-Mel). Aside from that, it has high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and has no nutritional value at all. I guess, what it does best is to make us feel full every after meal.
Scientists found out that some cancers are more common on alcohol drinkers than those non-drinkers. In fact, alcohol causes 4% of cancers in the UK. As we intake alcohol (ethanol, it is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. It damages the DNA and stops our cells from self-repairing, consequently causing cancer.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like you eat those listed items and you’ll get cancer overnight. No. These 16 foods highly increase the cancer risk. It accumulates through time as you continue to eat foods with carcinogens. But it is never too late. The people of the world have started to help one another by raising cancer awareness. 1.5 million lives that are lost per year due to cancer can be prevented. We can lessen cancer risks by start living a healthier lifestyle – fresh and nutritious diet, no smoking or alcohol and increase your physical activities. Start saving your life and your loved ones. We can fight cancer!