As most of us know, maintaining a good diet is absolutely vital for our health in the long run. And certain foods can be quite beneficial for our bodies if we continue to consume them over a number of years. On the flipside of that, though, there are other everyday items that could increase our risk of getting cancer.
Naturally, many of us find the need to change our diet for a host of reasons over the course of our lives. Some of us could choose to adopt a particular regimen – tossing our previous eating habits out the window. However, others might just want to tweak their routine by cutting back on certain items.
The short-term benefits of a healthier diet can be fantastic, but the long-term advantages shouldn’t be forgotten either. A good eating regimen could help stave off a number of serious illnesses such as cancer. Yet, as we previously mentioned, some unexpected food items might raise your risk of developing the ailment.
You might be wondering what you need to look out for when you head to your local supermarket for a weekly shop. Given the risks, you could choose to eliminate the items from your diet altogether. But there’s a high chance that the foods are already in your kitchen right now.
When discussing the potential causes of cancer, some people can’t help but think about the obvious sources: primarily drinking and smoking. But they aren’t the only factors – conditions such as obesity are often flagged up as well.
And as we mentioned earlier, your diet can be taken into consideration too. Certain foods are believed to lessen your chances of developing cancer – thanks to their respective properties. So if you’re wondering what these items are, here are a few of the more recognizable examples.
Garlic is considered to be one of these “superfoods,” as the famous plant fights off potential issues that could lead to cancer. To explain more, writer Elizabeth Lee described its effects on the WebMD website, and she also raised a few other interesting points about the pungent ingredient.
Lee wrote, “Whoever thought garlic breath would be good for you? The same sulfur compounds causing that odor may also stop cancer-causing substances from forming in your body, speed DNA repair and kill cancer cells.” But her thoughts on the matter didn’t end there, as we’re about to find out.
“Garlic battles bacteria, including H. pylori – the one connected to some ulcers and stomach cancer,” Lee continued. “And research suggests it reduces the risk of developing stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreatic and breast cancers. Garlic is the powerhouse of the allium family, but onions, leeks, chives, and scallions might also protect against stomach cancer.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has argued that one clove should be incorporated into your daily diet in order to improve health. Furthermore, there are said to be a number of other food items that might stave off cancer.
Broccoli is also believed to be protective against cancer, and that might not come as much of a surprise. After all, this vegetable is often looked upon as one of the healthiest foods out there today. Regarding the fight against cancer, researchers claim that it protects you from strains that attack the lungs, bladder, stomach, mouth and colon.
Broccoli can apparently help also shield you from breast cancer, too. As for why that’s the case, Lee broke down the properties of the vegetable, and others just like it, in her WebMD post. She revealed that the green veggie holds a particular chemical that triggers a chain reaction in your body.
Lee explained, “Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale and cauliflower contain phytochemicals called glucosinolates. [They] produce protective enzymes that are released when you chew the raw veggie – rupturing the cell walls. One of the most protective of these enzymes is sulforaphane. Scientists are researching how sulforaphane might reduce cancer risk.”
Elsewhere, tomatoes are also considered to be another option if you want to ward off the threat of cancer. The plant apparently harbors a phytochemical of its own known as lycopene – which gives it its striking color. And a number of studies claim that the compound can also protect you from cancer of the prostate.
Yet it’s believed that lycopene could halt the development of other cancers in your body as well – shielding your lungs and breasts. Other fruits contain the antioxidant too, with raspberries and strawberries being cited as two notable examples. Due to their respective properties, you might want to think about incorporating them into your diet.
“Strawberries and raspberries are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and ellagic acid – a phytochemical,” Lee wrote on WebMD. “In laboratory tests, ellagic acid seems to have anticancer properties that rev up enzymes – which destroy cancer-causing substances and slows the growth of tumors. It [also] seems to prevent cancers of the skin, bladder, lung, esophagus and breast.”
Furthermore, items like spinach, carrots and whole grains are also said to be effective in the fight against cancer. All of these things are fairly easy to obtain during a weekly shop, but so too are the more harmful products. And if you’re wondering which foods are included in that latter group, a few might surprise you.
To begin with, red meat is thought to be quite hazardous if you consume too much of it. This label encompasses foods such as pork, lamb, beef and veal. And in terms of the recommended weekly portion, the American Institute for Cancer Research claimed that three dishes should be enough.
However, you could be putting yourself at risk if you eat more than three servings. Red meat harbors substances called carcinogens and mutagens. The former is seen as a “cancer-causing agent,” while the latter is capable of changing your DNA. Due to that, you might develop issues like colorectal cancer through overindulgence.
Processed meats also carry the aforementioned substances too, though they’re believed to pose an even greater risk to consumers when compared to red meat. Incredibly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer have placed them on the same hazardous list with alcohol and tobacco.
The agency believes that a daily intake of 50 grams of processed meat – the equivalent of a single hot dog – raises your chances of developing cancer by almost 20 percent. Yet the shocking figures don’t end there, as the University of Hawaii has also conducted some research into the matter.
The university study found that there’s a 67 percent chance that you could get pancreatic cancer through eating processed meats. Furthermore, smoked meats pose some potential issues too, due to the way that they’re prepared in the kitchen. When the meat is being smoked, it’s said to soak up a form of tar.
Away from meat, one of the other cancer risks apparently comes in the form of a hot beverage. At first glance, that might sound fairly alarming if you like your coffee and cups of tea, but there’s a clear distinction to be made. Indeed, a normal serving of those drinks shouldn’t pose too much of a threat to your health.
The problem is said to arise if you gulp down scorchingly hot drinks on a regular basis. As a result of that, you could develop esophageal cancer. In truth, this is probably one of the easier issues to avoid, as you can just leave the beverage to cool for a few minutes before touching it.
Elsewhere, refined sugars are often cited as a potential health risk should you consume too much. These sweeteners can cause major problems in the long run, raising your body’s levels of insulin. Yet that’s not the only issue you could face, as sugar is also known to fuel cancerous cells.
That latter point first came to light back in the early 1930s, when a biochemist from Germany did some research. His name was Otto Warburg, and he noted that cancer cells essentially feed off sugar – allowing them to grow in size.
Unsurprisingly, the threat of cancer can be reduced if you cut down on your sugar intake. But for those who love the taste of the sweeteners, there are healthier substitutes out there. For instance, products such as maple syrup and honey can add the desired flavor to a hot drink or meal when the time comes.
Meanwhile, meat eaters need to be wary of another product when they go out shopping for food. As it turns out, consuming farmed fish might have a negative impact on your health. And many of the issues arise from the fact that they are often crammed together on the aforementioned farms.
For you see, because the fish are all mixing with each other, issues like parasitic outbreaks can spread amongst the group. So in an attempt to keep the aquatic animals healthy, the farmers dose them with pesticides and medicine. However, those compounds are carcinogenic – a term we touched upon a little earlier.
The chemicals stay in the meat after it’s sent off for consumption, and this is a major issue in the United States, especially when it comes to eating salmon. Incredibly, over 60 percent of that type of fish contain contents from the farms – putting diners at risk of developing cancer.
Thankfully for fish lovers, though, there is a solution to this issue when you go to the store. Instead of purchasing meat that’s been farmed, you can buy the “wild” option. As the name suggests, this means that the fish hasn’t gone through the previous process, so they’ve avoided all of those harmful chemicals.
Beyond farmed fish, there are also a few more products to be wary of regarding the cancer risk. A little earlier, we mentioned that smoked meats are somewhat problematic thanks to the way that they’re prepared. And this also extends to any other food that’s gone through that particular process.
Smoked foods are made to last a bit longer than some other items, so they usually contain preservatives. If you eat too much, the chemicals can wreak havoc on your body’s cells and also cause cancer. Pickled products aren’t much different in that respect, as they can lead to serious stomach problems.
Some other tasty snacks have come under scrutiny in recent times as well – with microwaveable popcorn joining the list. On its own, the product is fairly harmless to your health; the real issue stems from the way it’s stored and prepared.
The bag that the popcorn cooks in is the problem, as it contains a dangerous substance known as “perfluorooctanoic acid.” As a result, you could develop several different strains of cancer: including in the bladder, lungs, kidney, prostate, thyroid and breasts.
In addition to the microwave popcorn, one more popular snack could prove to be a hazard going forward. Potato chips are arguably some of the most moreish food items on the planet, with their taste driving consumers to eat them by the bagful. Yet despite all that, they aren’t particularly healthy.
More often than not, potato chips are cooked in a substance called hydrogenated vegetable oil before they are covered in salt. That combination can lead hungry consumers to put on weight and develop high blood pressure – especially if they overindulge. But surprisingly, that’s not the biggest concern regarding this everyday snack.
While potato chips are being prepared in the kitchen, they’re usually placed inside a fryer to crisp up. During that process, they then give off a harmful carcinogen called acrylamide. And that name might sound familiar to you if you happen to be a smoker, as cigarettes contain the chemical too.
If your kitchen cupboards are fully stocked, there’s a good chance that at least one of the aforementioned items might be in there. But before you make any plans, one last product can be added to the list: white flour.
Unlike normal white flour, there’s no nutrition to be gained from its refined counterpart. In fact, the product is soaked in chlorine gas. Should you consume it, the insulin level in your body is likely to go up, and that’s not a good thing in the long-term. Alongside the cancer risks, you’d be in danger of developing heart problems too.