DIET AND DISEASE: 10 FOODS THAT INCREASE #CANCER RISKS

tt0144918Alas.  A box full of grief

While heredity can predispose some persons to the risk of cancer, there is still much those persons and all persons can do to lessen their risk.   Eliminating the following foods from the diet are a good step to take.

1.  Sweetened Beverages   Soft drinks and juices are heavy in refined sugar, the preferred source of energy for carcinogens in the body.  The beverages may help promote tumor growth or formation.  They also contain unhealthy additives.

2.  Fried Foods   French fries, potato chips and onion rings contain trans fats, particularly unhealthy hydrogenated oils.  Eating trans fats will raise your blood pressure and level of “bad” cholesterol while simultaneously lowering your level of “good” cholesterol.  A byproduct of deep-fat frying is acrylamide, a serous carcinogen and neurotoxin.

3.  Alcohol     Concerning alcohol, “Any level of alcohol increases risk for breast cancer,” says Alice Bender, a registered dietician with the American institute for Cancer Research (AICR).  High alcohol consumption increases the risk of several other cancers for both women and men, including mouth, colon, esophagus and liver cancers.

4.  Charred Meat   Charred foods, especially meats, create carcinogens called heterocyclic aromatic amines that release toxins and mutagenic byproducts.  It’s possible that burning toast creates the same effect.

Briefly precooking meat either in the microwave or by parboiling before grilling reduces the production of carcinogens because it reduces the time the food is exposed to high temperatures.

Charred vegetables are safe to consume.

5.  Snack Foods   Chips, crackers, cookies and cupcakes and other processed packaged foods are made with white flour, salt, sugar and trans fat.  They’ll not only increase your risk of cancer but will cause weight gain and elevated cholesterol.

6.  Cured Meats  Hot dogs, lunchmeats, bacon and sausage contain nitratosamine or nitrates, a cancer causing agent.  Children should limit their consumption; women should avoid them during pregnancy.

7.  Doughnuts   The high-sugar content stimulates the body’s production of insulin, encouraging the growth and division of cancerous cells, especially in the pancreas.  Their high sugar content, high-fat ingredients and high temperature of cooking make them the worst food you can eat to raise your risk of cancer.

8.  Pickled Foods   Heavily salted and pickled foods are linked to higher rates of stomach cancer.

9.  Farmed Fish  Fish farming is banned in the US because farmed fish usually contain high levels of toxins and carcinogens such as polychlorinated Biphenyls, PCBs, chemicals once used to insulate electrical equipment.

10.  Red Meat   The bulk of evidence from the NIH-AARP study and many others link red meat to an increased cancer risk, especially colon cancer.  And BTW, pork is not “the other white meat.”  It’s a red meat, just as are lamb and beef.

To limit your risk, AICR’s Bender recommends no more than 18 ounces of cooked red meat a week.  She suggests substituting garbanzo and kidney beans and dried peas and lentils as healthy and inexpensive sources of protein.

My Take on the study:   Alcohol doesn’t cause cancerous tumors, but because it stimulates production of estrogen in both men and in women, it hastens the growth and spreading of existing tumors.  Two or more drinks a day for postmenopausal women increases the risk of dying from breast cancer by 30%.  I have two male friends who’ve had breast cancer.

Rather than precooking ribs by boiling before grilling them, I wrap them in foil with seasonings and bake them for an hour at 350 degrees.

Sources:    AARP Bulletin, December 2012     Livestrong.com, March 28, 2011   And others              

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