Research shows you may be able to lower your risk of cancer by avoiding these 5 cancer-causing foods…
The incidence of cancer continues to grow every year in our modern world, with nearly 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with the disease in 2014. The cost of conventional cancer treatments can be astronomical (often topping out over $100,000), yet far too many people don’t take steps to prevent this dreaded disease from happening to them.
While cancer can be caused by hundreds of different factors, there are many indications that diet is a major factor, which means that prevention can be possible for many people simply by changing the way that you eat.
In fact, according to Dr. Raymond Francis, author of Never Fear Cancer Again, the disease has only two possible causes: toxicity and malnutrition.
And the foods that are believed to increase cancer risk often contribute to both causes.
Most of us already know that we should eat healthier, but if you want to clean up your diet and reduce your cancer risk, below are 5 carcinogenic or potentially cancer-causing foods to start removing from your regular diet, according to The Grow Network.
Keep in mind that although you should not consume any of these foods on a regular basis, it’s okay to make an exception once in a while for a special occasion – after all, truly healthy eating should also be something that you enjoy!
- Sugar: Cancer has a favorite food. It’s sugar. Without it, cancer cells can’t grow and spread—in fact, they need almost 50 times more sugar to function than regular cells, according to Dr. Nasha Winters, author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. In addition, up to 80 percent of cancers are fueled by glucose and insulin, in one way or another. It’s easy to see why too much sugar in the diet is a very bad thing. In fact, the less refined sugar, the better!
- Alcoholic Beverages: Our bodies turn the ethanol in alcoholic drinks into acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. In addition to damaging the body’s DNA and keeping cells from being able to perform repairs, alcohol also increases estrogen levels in the blood (a contributor to breast cancer), prevents the body from absorbing several nutrients, and may contain carcinogenic contaminants. It should be noted, however, that red wine contains resveratrol, a substance that has been shown to have anticancer properties. While the substance itself has been widely studied, only a few studies have looked at whether drinking red wine reduces a person’s cancer risk.
- Processed Meats: Defined as any meat that’s been preserved through curing, being salted or smoked, or by other means, processed meats include bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats including corned beef, salami, pepperoni, capocollo, bologna, mortadella, and ham. They are categorized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “carcinogenic to humans.” Scientists suspect that the nitrite preservatives contained in processed meats are what causes the harm. The body can convert these nitrites into N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which damage cells in the bowel lining. To heal the damage, cells replicate more often, which in turn provides more opportunities for DNA replication errors.
- Artificial Sweeteners: According to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer is inconclusive—but possible. Since some studies have shown a correlation between the two in lab animals, the current recommendation is to avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharine altogether.
- Very Hot Beverages: Studies in cultures where people typically drink their tea or mate at about 149°F (70°C) have found a correlation between very hot beverages and the risk of esophageal cancer. But, unless you keep a thermometer handy when you’re drinking your morning Joe, how are you supposed to know how hot is too hot? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have to sip it to be able to drink it, let it cool a bit first.
It’s not all bad news though! Along with removing these foods from your regular diet, there are lots of delicious and healthy foods that you can enjoy on a regular basis that may actually help reduce your risk of cancer. Here are 5 good ones to eat more of:
- Nuts and Seeds: Powerhouses of micronutrients, nuts and seeds also contain healthy fats that improve the bioavailability of cancer-fighting nutrients in other foods. In fact, if you pair them with green vegetables, you’ll absorb 10 times more anticarcinogens than you would if you ate your veggies alone. In addition, flaxseeds and sesame seeds contain cancer-fighting lignans, and black sesame seeds are filled with antioxidants.
- Garlic: If you’ve read the e-book Garlic: Your First Home Medicine, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that garlic is believed to have anticancer effects, especially on cancers that affect the digestive system.
- Mushrooms: No need to spring for the fancy mushrooms to benefit from the anticancer properties of these fungi. Even the less expensive, more widely available white, cremini, and portobello mushrooms can reduce inflammation, slow the growth of cancer cells, reduce the risk of breast cancer by blocking the production of estrogen—and the list goes on and on!
- Berries: Blackberries and blueberries have powerful antioxidant properties. Among other life-giving benefits, they help prevent DNA damage and hinder blood supply to growing cancer cells.
- Olives and Genuine Olive Oil: Olives contain an abundance of antioxidants, including squalene and terpenoids. Olive oil has similar cancer-fighting properties, but if it’s imported, make sure it’s genuine. Several studies within the last few years have shown that a large number of imported “olive oils” are fake or adulterated in some way.