Cancer causing foods

When we talk about cancer, the statistics are glaring. It is the second leading cause of death globally and is estimated to account for 9.6 million death in 2018 . That said, there is increased awareness about the disease and we can take pre-emptive action. Between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors. This includes eating healthy and reducing the consumption of foods that have been proven to be carcinogenic. There are many ways how you can avoid cancer but for now let us look at 10 such foods.

Processed meats

Hot dogs (frankfurters), ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky, as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces, are considered carcinogens. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorised processed meats to have to be proven just as linked to cancer as tobacco smoking and asbestos. There is evidence for links to colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.

Excessive amounts of alcohol

There is strong evidence to support the links between alcohol consumption and certain types of cancer. These include head and neck cancers, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, breast, and colon cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute . In 2010, alcohol-attributable cancers were estimated to be responsible for 337,400 deaths worldwide, predominantly among men .

Cutting back would be a discerning step.

  • Trans fats
    Also known as hydrogenated fats, trans fats are formed when manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats in order to increase the shelf life or flavour of foods. Most of the packed foods like chips, wafers, crackers, cereals, candies, baked goods, cookies, granola bars, and salad dressings contain these fats. Of course, the direct link of such fats is with increased inflammation and in turn, obesity. There is a link between overweight and obesity to many types of cancer such as oesophagus, colorectum, breast, endometrium and kidney.

  • Bagels, breads, puffed rice and corn flakes
    Most of these food items are either a staple in our diet or at least make an appearance as snacks. While they taste delicious and may seem harmless - they have a high glycemic index, which was found to raise the risk of lung cancer .

  • Pickled foods
    The pickles may be finger-licking good but they may be also be stomach-churning carcinogenic. These foods contain several preservatives and nitrates that can cause stomach and esophageal cancer .

  • High-salt foods
    Foods that contain high volumes of salt are the biggest agents of chronic and critical illnesses. A high intake of salt is associated with high blood pressure which puts you at a higher risk of certain cancers. It is the same issue as that with pickled foods: diets containing high amounts of food preserved by salting and pickling are associated with an increased risk of cancers of the stomach, nose and throat .

  • Microwavable popcorn
    Microwaveable popcorn might look like a harmless snack that you can whip up easily, but such popcorn are lined with PFOA or perfluoro-octanoic acid which is a likely carcinogen. The synthetic butter contains diacetyl. These chemicals make their way into the popcorn when you heat them up. Eating these popcorn means that these chemicals will enter and stay in your body for a long time.

  • Sodas
    Sodas are a big carcinogenic for the same reason as artificial sweeteners. They have a lot to be wary of - harmful colours, preservatives and artificial sugars. These sweetened sodas, sports drinks and even 100% fruit juice can potentially expose you to a greater risk for cancer. You should curtail your consumption down to zero, especially because there are safer alternatives available in lemon or lime water.

  • Piping hot foods
    These have been associated with a greater risk of esophageal cancer. Studies have also suggested an association between hot tea consumption and esophageal squamous cell cancer .

  • Artificial Sweeteners/flavours
    Several studies have shown a close link between artificial sweeteners and cancer risk. There have also been specific additives being used to perform the same function: to lend flavors like cinnamon and mint.

Make sure you make some dietary changes to keep yourself away from the risk of cancer: keep that salt shaker and bag of microwavable popcorn away. And while you are taking preventive measures, also get cancer insurance to help you deal with a diagnosis, if it ever comes.