Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells. There are more than 100 types of cancer, including breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel movements. Many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking too much alcohol, eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, not eating too much processed and red meat, and by avoiding many cancer causing foods that we have listed below.
1. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid, a compound that has been linked to various types of cancer, including liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer. In fact, a couple of years ago a Colorado court awarded a man a $7.2 million settlement for “popcorn lung” which is a lung condition from inhaling too much microwave popcorn. To reduce your risk of exposure to these chemicals, air pop your popcorn and add your own flavoring instead.
2. Canned Tomatoes
Canned foods allow you to enjoy your favorite vegetables throughout the year. However, if you are concerned about your health, avoid canned food, especially canned tomatoes. The cans used to pack tomatoes and other foods are lined with a product called bisphenol A, BPA, an endocrine disruptor that may mimic or disrupt hormones and increase the risks for breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty, metabolic disorders, infertility, and several other problems. When it comes to canned foods, canned tomatoes are more harmful to your health due to their high acidity, which allows the BPA from the can lining to soak into the tomatoes easily. Be safe and avoid cans. Cook fresh or buy glass bottles.
3. Farmed Salmon
Farmed salmon is nowhere near as healthy as wild salmon, and eating farmed salmon puts you at a higher risk of developing cancer. Farm-raised fish are fed unnatural diets and contaminated with chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides and other known carcinogens found in materials like asbestos. A 2004 study published in Science Magazine revealed that farmed salmon has significantly higher levels of cancer-causing and other health-related contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and toxaphene as compared to wild salmon. Next time when you buy salmon, make sure it is labeled as wild. Wild salmon is more expensive than farmed, but it’s worth the extra cost.
4. Hydrogenated Oil
Hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils, which cannot be naturally extracted like olive oil, soy or canola oil, they are chemically extracted from vegetables and is again chemically treated to change the smell and taste. This process turns unsaturated fat into a stable solid fat, resulting in trans fatty hydrogenated oil which is considered to be the worst type of fat and is known to cause cancer, heart disease, and immune system problems. Those who consume the most trans fats through hydrogenated oils have a 25% higher risk of death than those who consume the least. You must never cook with hydrogenated oil. Instead, use extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil or palm oil.
5. Potato Chips
Potato chips are deep-fried in temperatures above 120 degrees Celsius, which causes them to create a material called acrylamide, a well-known carcinogen found in cigarettes. According to a 2006 study published in the International Journal of Cancer, dietary acrylamide puts you at a higher risk of ovarian, prostate, digestive tract and breast cancers. Potato chips are also high in fat and calories, which contribute to unhealthy weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other health problems. Instead of eating potato chips, you can also try banana chips, which are much healthier than regular potato chips.
6. Genetically Modified Foods
Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are a rapidly growing industry and have made their way into the majority of our foods like corn, potatoes, grains and soybeans. Such food products are grown using harmful chemicals and, when consumed, can lead to immune system, brain and liver damage. After GMO’s were introduced in 1996, GM vegetables fed to rats caused development of horrifying tumors. One of the biggest culprits was GM bovine growth hormone found in milk. Stay away from these silent killers and choose certified organic, non-GMO verified and locally-grown foods that are produced without biotechnology.
7. Refined and Artificial Sugars
Refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and fructose-rich sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup are not good for your health. These products tend to rapidly spike insulin levels and feed the growth of cancer cells. According to a 2006 study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition journal, high intake of sugar and sugar-sweetened foods increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.Instead of using refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, you can try alternatives like honey, jaggery, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup to sweeten any dish.
8. Refined White Flour
Refined White flour contains excess carbohydrates that are not good for your health and even increase the risk of cancer. During the milling process, white flour is bleached with chlorine gas, which is highly toxic for the body. In fact, studies have shown that excess carbohydrate intake increases the risk of breast cancer among women. In addition, white flour has a high-glycemic rate that rapidly raises blood sugar levels. A spike in blood sugar promotes cancer cell growth and spreading. Instead of using refined white flour, try some healthier options like whole-wheat, almond, quinoa or barley flour. You can use these flours for baking or making breads.
9. Processed or Red Meat
Processed meats such as ham, sausage and bacon have chemicals and preservatives like sodium nitrates, which make them bad for your health. In addition, processed meat contains excessive salt, which is also not good for you. In a 2008 study published in the Nutrition and Cancer journal, researchers found that processed meat intake might be involved in the etiology of colorectal cancer. More shocking statistics shared by the Organic Consumer’s Association reveal hot dogs commonly contain sodium nitrite, a cancer causing ingredient the USDA has been trying to ban since the 1970s. Leukemia risks soared a staggering 700% with hot dog consumption. Look for meats free of nitrites to help reduce your risk with these cancer causing foods.
Along with processed meat, you must avoid excessive intake of red meat that can lead to higher risks of colon and prostate cancer.
10. Pickled and Smoked Foods
Pickled and smoked foods are delicious but, at the same time, very harmful to the body. In fact, smoked meats that pick up tar from the smoking process cause extreme harm to your body. Plus, most pickled foods contain nitrates that turn into N-nitroso, which increases your risk of cancer.
Moreover, they contain preservatives to prolong shelf life, which can accumulate in your body over time. This can cause damage at the cellular level and lead to cancer and other diseases. Smoked foods are high in fat and, when cooked at high temperatures, the nitrates are converted to nitrites, which is even more harmful to the body. Try to avoid pickled and smoked foods as much as possible.