Our bodies are usually designed to thrive on whole foods but unfortunately, we take in more processed meals than whole foods, which make us less healthy. Preservatives, additives and the extra salt and sugar put a strain on our bodies. The harder our bodies work to digest meals, the worse the situation gets because it causes fatigue and increases the chances of getting cancer.
The worst part is foods that are marketed as healthy are not exactly healthy and sometimes, even the way we prepare the food puts us at more risk of getting cancer. The following are foods that cause cancer or increase the risk of getting it.
1. Grilled red meat
Doctors and other experts often advise that we limit the amount of red meat we take. Reducing our intake of fatty red meat to a few servings in a week will significantly reduce your risk of getting cancer. Should you choose to indulge, it’s worth avoiding the char marks despite them being very tasty.
Foods that have been cooked at high temperatures produce acrylamide which is a known carcinogen. Meat that’s been prepared on the grill also takes unhealthy stuff from either the grill or the wood. It is therefore worth reducing your intake of meat and choosing organic foods instead. Just don’t overcook the organic foods.
Soda is high in sugar in fructose corn syrup form, which is the most challenging form for your body to handle. Just a single can has a full day’s worth of sugar. It makes your blood sugar rise significantly but doesn’t leave you feeling full. As such, it may make you overeat later. Colas also have in them caramel color which is artificial coloring that contains 4-MEI, a carcinogenic chemical, as a byproduct. If a good drink is what you want, choose sparkling water instead, with a splash of fruit juice.
3. Canned foods especially tomatoes
The thing with canned foods is that they contain a lot of added salt, while fruits are canned in sugar syrup. This in addition to the fact that the cans have a chemical lining makes things worse. The chemical is called BPA which leaches into the food that comes into some kind of contact with it. BPA is a hormone disrupter which has also been linked to cancer. For foods that are naturally acidic such as tomatoes, the effect is even worse. Instead of going for canned foods, it’s better to eat fresh produce or look for cans that do not contain so much sodium or those labeled BPA free.
Generally, popcorn is a healthy snack. The problem is when you eat microwave popcorn that’s been prepared in a microwave bag. It could cause cancer. For this, the butter flavoring contains diacetyl which is toxic. The bags also have a chemical lining. The chemical is PFOA which is carcinogenic. There’s also no way of knowing whether the popcorn you are eating is organic as the growers are not required to report this. To be on the safer side, it’s better to buy kennels and then pop the popcorn either on your stove or in an air popper. Use olive oil as it would make for a great topping.
5. Hydrogenated oils
When oils cannot be extracted naturally from their source, they become hydrogenated by the required chemical processing. A good example is vegetable oils. They are not only chemically processed but also colored. Their natural scent is also removed from them. Sure the product in the end looks nice, but you should stay away from it because it contains unhealthy omega-6 fats. It’s unfortunate that most goods that are baked and commercialized as well as snacks have been made with these hydrogenated oils. The better option is to go for naturally extracted oils such as olive oil, canola or soy for home cooking and also stop buying cakes and cookies from stores. Make them by yourself instead.
6. Artificial sweeteners
People like to choose them over sugar but these are actually not safe. They make your body unable to recognize your daily calorie consumption accurately and will make you crave more sweets. Aspartame is the worst when it comes to the list of cancer-causing chemicals, even though the rest of the sweeteners are also not a good option for you. They all break down into a toxin known as DKP during digestion. Because of these, sweeteners have been linked to brain tumors. So if you really prefer a sweetener, go for a plant-based one such as Stevia. Otherwise, just use real sugar but limit the amount you use.
7. Farmed salmon
While it a very healthy and safe protein to add to your diet, wild-caught salmon is very hard to find. Most of the salmon found in grocery stores nowadays are farmed and this human intervention has made it unhealthy. Farmed salmon are made to eat unnatural diets which include antibiotics. They are also forced to live under very overcrowded and stressful conditions. As a result, filets produced are those that contain cancer-causing dioxins, PCBs and mercury. They are also very fatty. It is advisable to eat the wild-caught sockeye salmon or add some purified fish oil to your diet.
8. Non-organic fruits and vegetables
Commercial growers often use a lot of pesticides, obviously because pests destroy crops. The problem is these pesticides can be poisonous which is very risky to the consumer. Safe organic farming methods exist but unfortunately, they are more expensive and not too many people use these safe methods. In the end, it is the consumer who suffers. The non-organic fruits and vegetables contain dangerous pesticides such as thiodicarb, atrazine and organophosphates. If you can afford it, opt for more organic products and always wash your produce very carefully before eating.
9. Refined wheat floor
Whole grains are good for you and should be part of your diet but when they go through the refining process in order to produce white flour, the vitamins in them are stripped away. In addition to that, the flour is blasted with chlorine gas to make it white. This just results in a product drenched in poison, a pure carbohydrate just waiting to break down into simple sugar when it gets into your system. This leads to spiking and crashing of your blood sugar which fuels cancer. It creates a perfect environment for cancer cells to grow. Unfortunately, most baked foods in stores are made using refined flour so you might want to bake at home more. Always read labels carefully and go for unbleached whole wheat flour.
10. Processed meat
Processing meat either before or during the cooking process almost always makes it more dangerous. Products like sausages, deli meats, bacon and hot dogs contain plenty of salt and cancer-causing chemicals such as nitrate and nitrite. They may make the junk look better and even last longer. Sadly, this does not favor your body. Even naturally smoked meat takes tar which is harmful. Eating meat daily increases your chances of getting cancer by 22%. Instead, buy meat from your local butcher as they sell fresher meat.
11. Potato chips
Potatoes can be healthy when baked or when eaten in whole form as they are mostly carbohydrate. On the other hand, potato chips are the least healthy snacks for you. This is because they are fried in trans fats and coated with salt. They also contain some artificial coloring and chemical preservatives. These additives affect the heart and circulation. Potato chips also contain acrylamide which is a carcinogen. If you want to have a snack, choose dried apples, air-popped popcorn, pretzels, banana chips or baked whole grain pita chips.
12. GMO foods
There has been a debate surrounding GMO foods. Although studies on them are not conclusive, some have been done and had negative effects on the subjects. All those subjects developed some kind of pre-cancerous cell growth within a short time of exposure. Most agricultural companies prefer GMOs because they are more resistant to pests, easier to transport and last longer but the risk to humans is not worth it. Instead, buy organic produce and meat and always go for foods labeled Non-GMO.
According to studies, it is excessive alcohol intake that leads to cancer. You can take just one drink in a day for women and two for men to be on the safe side but honestly, it is advisable to just stay away from alcohol altogether. According to studies, exceeding the safe zone increases the risk of getting colon, liver, mouth, esophagus and rectal cancers. If giving up alcohol is not something you’re willing to do, just avoid drinking when you are stressed or bored instead. The other better option is to take red wine. It has a compound called resveratrol that helps in fighting cancer.
14. Refined sugars
The worst in this category is high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, it is found in a lot of processed foods and drinks. Cancer is most active in high sugar areas but fructose is worse because of how hard it makes your body work to process it. Your liver has to break it down first. The liver might end up storing a lot of it as fat and it could cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which sadly, is a risk factor for liver cancer. You should read labels carefully to avoid buying those with lots of sugar. If you are craving some sugar, eat fruit instead.
It was originally created to be a better alternative to butter. Unfortunately, healthwise, it is worse. It is full of trans fats, which could increase your chances of dying early. Margarine increases your chances of developing cancer. During the process of its production, the by-products of vegetable oil are heated to high temperatures and produce harmful chemicals, toxic to your body. It’s actually better to use butter, just not too much of it because it contains saturated fats.