Cancer is considered as second largest cause of death in India. According to WHO, nearly 8 lakh deaths are caused by cancer in India. It is therefore important that we ensure preventive measures to reduce the number of cases. People with active lifestyle, healthy diet and less addictions are shown to have less risk. Lets have a look at cancer causing foods.
Cancer causing foods-
1. Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
Our food industry is rapidly growing with genetic modified crops. Corn and soy are being genetically modified more than 90 %. Experts suggest that these lack adequate testing. The long term effect caused by these products on human health thus remains unknown.
2. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn is known to increase risk of lung cancer. The kernel oils used are most likely GMO. Also the artificial butter flavouring contains di-acetyl which is released by the fumes. Diacetyl is known toxic to human health.
Thus It is best that you Make your own organic popcorn.
3. Canned Goods
Most cans Contain called bisphenol-A (BPA). Many plastic goods also contain BPA. This may have a toxic effect on brain cells. Therefore it is best to avoid canned products.
4. Grilled Red Meat
Grilled or processed meat releases a carcinogen called heterocyclic aromatic amines. Post grilling, there is a change in the chemical and molecular structure of the meat.
5. Refined Sugar
Refined sugars are The biggest cancer causing food. EXAMPLE- High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other refined sugars. Refined sugars result in major insulin spikes. They thus promote the growth of cancer cells.
Therefore, Substitutes like organic honey, coconut sugar, or maple sugar should be used.
6. Salted, Pickled, and Smoked Foods
These products typically contain preservatives such as nitrates. These preservatives aim to prolong shelf life. The additives used in processed foods accumulate and cause damage at the cellular level .Moreover, When smoked foods are cooked at high temperatures, the nitrates are converted to the much more dangerous nitrites.
7. Soda and Carbonated Beverages
Sodas are a major cancer causing food. They are filled with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dyes, and a host of other chemicals. Thus, They provide zero nutritional value.
8. White Flour
When flour is refined, all nutritional value is removed. It also has a high glycemic index. Thus it spikes your insulin levels without providing nutritional value. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars by your body. Thus excessive products that contain white flour can lead to increased insulin resistance
9. Hydrogenated Oils
Vegetable oils are chemically extracted from their source, chemically treated, and more chemicals are added to change the smell and taste. They’re packed with unhealthy omega-6 fats.
10. Alcohol and tobacco
Excess consumption disrupts blood sugar levels. Tobacco is a leading cause of oral cancer.
What can we do about it?
Food precautions to be taken-
Look for GMO-free labels whenever possible.
Use fresh or frozen vegetables that have no added ingredients.
Reheat leftovers thoroughly.
Store household cleaners away from food.
Never modify canning recipes.
Wash fruits and vegetables.
Self precautions while handling food-
Wash hands thoroughly before handling food
Keep pets away from food.
Control household pests.
Use hot, soapy water to wash hands and utensils
Safe and Healthy Food Items-
1. Food items made up of whole grains, grain flours of wheat, rice, bengal-grams, green-grams, pulses, ragi, oats
2. Roasted grains
3. Roasted parboiled rice
4. Fresh, clean, decontaminated and raw/cooked seasonal vegetables and fruits.
5. Fresh prepared fruit juices
6. Milk and milk products preferable fresh pasteurized items
7. Non-vegetable foods e.g. fresh eggs, chicken and fish
8. Dry fruits, peanuts, cashew-nuts
Better to avoid food items-
1. Potato chips, potato-snacks
2. Noodles of various brands
3. Tea and coffee
5. Chocolates, toffees
There are strong evidences which show increased incidences of specific cancers with foods. There are some everyday foods and drinks that are labelled as carcinogenic. Carcinogenic food items contain some natural toxins, adulterants, additives, preservatives. They also contain residues of insecticides or many other unwanted/unavoidable chemicals/ingredients.
These foods can cause cancer if taken for long duration. Some of these foods are best avoided, while some are best to be consumed in moderation. Its important that we make healthy eating choices, promote it, and thus restrict carcinogen intake in our bodies.