Cancer is a group of complex diseases with many possible causes. Some of them are:
- Lifestyle factors like physical activity (or lack of), diet, and tobacco use
- Certain infections
- Genetic factors
- Exposures to different radiation and different types of chemicals
Daily habits affect your risk of cancer much more than you think. According to the researches the two key factors are physical inactivity and poor diet. But, there is something that you can do about it.
Quitting smoking is the most important thing, and the others are:
- Be physically active
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Eat healthy foods and focus on foods that are plant-based
The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that around 20% of all the patients diagnosed with cancer in the United States, have this disease because of physical inactivity, poor nutrition, excess alcohol and body fatness. This can be prevented.
Cancer causing foods
- Artificial and refined sugars
Artificial sweeteners and refined sugar like high fructose corn syrup damage your health and you should avoid them.
These products rapidly spike the levels of insulin, which in turn feeds the growth of cancer cells. According to a 2006 study that was published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition journal, excessive intake of sugar-sweetened foods and sugar in general, leads to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In order to sweeten any dish, you can try natural alternatives like jiggery, maple syrup, herb stevia, blackstrap molasses and honey.
- Processed or red meat
Processed meats like bacon, sausage and ham, contain preservatives and chemicals like sodium nitrate, which makes these meats very bad for your health. Also, they contain high amounts of salt, which is very bad.
According to a 2008 study, the intake of processed meat might be involved in the etiology of colorectal cancer. In order to avoid higher risks of prostate and colon cancer, you need to avoid intake of red meat.
To avoid the damaging effects of processed meat, you can cook your own food. Also, try lean meat.
- Farmed salmon
Salmon provides numerous health benefits, but people often times do not pay attention whether they are eating wild or farmed salmon. Eating farmed salmon puts you at risk of developing cancer and it is not nearly as healthy as a wild salmon.
According to a study published in 2004, farmed salmon has higher levels of cancer causing contaminants, like toxaphene, dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls.
Farmed salmon contains high levels of flame retardants and mercury. The bad thing is that the majority of the salmon that is being sold in grocery stores, and served in restaurants is farmed, so it is recommended that you avoid ordering salmon when you are eating out. Also, you need to make sure that the salmon that you buy is labeled as wild. It is more expensive, but you cannot put a price tag on health.
- Smoked and pickled foods
These foods are delicious but they are also very harmful for your body.
Smoked meats pick up tar from the process of smoking, and can have extremely damaging effects to your body.
They also contain preservatives that prolong the shelf life of the products. This can lead to cancer and can cause damage at the cellular level. When cooked at high temperatures, the nitrates that are contained in the smoked food, are converted to nitrites. This causes further damages to your body.
Please, avoid smoked and pickled foods as much as you can.
- Hydrogenated oil
Hydrogenated oil is not good for your health because is not extracted naturally like the canola, soy or olive oil. It is chemically extracted from vegetables and then it is chemically treated again to change the taste and the smell. This oil is used to preserve processed foods.
It is important to know that omega-6 fatty acids are good for your health when ingested in small quantities, but hydrogenated oil contains very large amounts of it. This can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Also, you should never cook with this oil because it promotes prostate and breast cancer. Use alternatives like extra-virgin coconut oil, palm oil or extra-virgin olive oil.
- Potato Chips
In order to make potato chips crispy, they are fried in temperatures above 248 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius)
This leads to the formation of a material that is called acrylamide, which is a carcinogen that can be found in the cigarettes. According to the studies, acrylamide increases the risk of digestive tract, ovarian, breast and prostate cancers.
They are high in calories and fat and they can easily increase your weight. They also lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and numerous other health problems.
You can make potato chips at home, by buying potatoes from the market and using olive oil.
- Microwave popcorn
Despite of the fact that they are very easy to make, microwave popcorns lead to higher risk of cancer. They contain a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA for short) which is very toxic. According to a study published in 2009, PFOA can impede fertility in women.
These popcorns also contain soybean oil, which is a GMO product, and number of preservatives like propyl gallate.
- Refined white flour
Refined white flour is a very common ingredient that is present in processed foods. This type of flour contains carbohydrates that are very bad for your health and in some cases, they can even increase the risk of cancer. Excess carbohydrate intake, can increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Also white flour rapidly raises the levels of blood sugar.
You can try different options that are healthy like quinoa, barley or whole-wheat barley flour. These flours can be used for baking breads.