You are what you eat!
Fresh foods flourishing with nutrients when eaten in the right way ensures that you lead a healthy, disease-free life. But if your plate is filled with foods that do not come from an organic source and is impregnated with toxins, then every morsel of that food can be building a bridge for diseases to come sliding.
While many foods can be categorized under the column of ‘harmful’ but not all are carcinogenic.
Though every now and then the news flash with some breakthrough research claiming the possible carcinogenic property of famous foods, but not all gets validated. For any food or drink to be labeled carcinogenic, there must be strong evidence to justify the association.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies carcinogens. They check how likely they are to cause cancer, with the scale divided into five groups: known, probable, possible, unclassifiable and probably not carcinogenic.
Here are 5 common foods that come under the category of known carcinogens:
Alcohol metabolism produces acetaldehyde. It’s a chemical compound that may cause damage to DNA. This might lead to cancer. Research verifies the association of alcohol to an increased risk of developing head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer.
That’s why experts say its best to abstain from alcohol to avoid the risk. However, the second-best option is to limit the alcohol consumption to not more than two servings per day for men and one serving per day for women.
There is enough evidence to label processed meat as a carcinogenic food. Meat preserved by curing, salting or smoking, or with chemical preservatives can increase the risk of cancer. It’s the nitrate in these processed meats that causes the damage.
You must check for the nitrite content while buying Bacon, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, prosciutto, beef jerky and salami. Research says that eating 50 grams of processed meat every day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 per cent.
Red meat like beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse and goat are linked to increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer. Also, the way you cook the meat can raise the risk of cancer.
Meats cooked at high temperatures, like barbequed, contain chemicals that may cause changes in DNA. This may lead to cancer. Eating a lot of over-cooked meat is linked to an increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
Soda pop is another popular food that has been linked to causing cancer. Loaded with sugar, food chemicals, and colorings, soda pop acidifies the body. It literally feeds cancer cells making them grow aggressively.
The soda pop contains the chemicals 4-methylimidazole (4-MI). This chemical has been specifically linked to causing cancer.
Another very popular food that has been under the radar of cancer-causing food is the ‘sweet sugar’. Though it is not directly linked to cancer because it does not contain any such chemical that can be labeled as carcinogenic, but sugar is the culprit of obesity which is a proven risk for cancer.
Obesity has been linked to 13 types of cancer. Cutting added sugar, specifically refined sugar, is one way to reducing the risks for cancer. Eating sweet fruits and vegetables are fine. Even indulging in sweet treats once in a while is fine, but the key here is moderation.
Following a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, nuts and seeds is the key to living in a healthy body. Limiting ultra-processed foods, such as packed baked foods, snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals, ready-to-eat meals is another way of limiting the cancer risk.
Cancer can be caused by several factors. Some knowns and some unknowns. A few uncontrollable and some preventable. Whatever, be the cause, food may play a multi-role. It can be causative, preventive, supportive as well as curative in cancer, depending on what you choose to eat!