A factual list of cancer-causing foods and cancer-fighting foods

Cancer-causing foods

1. Processed meat

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is “convincing evidence” that processed meat causes cancer. Classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, it is specifically connected to colorectal and stomach cancer.

Examples of processed meats that have carcinogenic properties include Frankfurter hotdogs, ham, sausages, corned beef, beef jerky, and canned or lunch meat.

2. Red meat

Only marginally better for us than processed meat, red meat is classified as Group 2A, “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The strongest link between eating red meat and cancer is colorectal cancer; however, there is also evidence of links to both pancreatic and prostate cancer.

The Cancer Council recommends that, to reduce your risk of cancer, you should eat no more than 65–100 g of cooked red meat per week.

Barbecues and charred meat:

“Some research suggests that burnt or charred meat may increase the risk of cancer. Substances called heterocyclic amines are formed in foods that are cooked at high temperatures and blackened or charred. In animal studies, heterocyclic amines are proven to cause cancer. However, the evidence in human studies is not clear.”

3. Alcohol

Many of us enjoy the occasional drink, some more than others. However, the medical advice is to reduce your alcohol intake to as little as possible. Alcohol is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, which means there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.

The forms of cancer that are particularly linked to alcohol consumption are cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, breast, liver, stomach, and bowel.

The cancer risk associated with alcohol is thought to be dose-dependent for some forms of cancer. That is, consuming one glass of wine with dinner every now and then does not have as much of a negative effect as binge-consuming several units of alcohol in one sitting. In fact, one study suggests that moderate consumption of red wine can be linked to lower overall mortality and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

4. Salted fish (Chinese style)

Salting is a traditional method of preserving food—especially fish—frequently used in Southeast Asia and China. This method of preservation unfortunately results in the production of carcinogenic by-products, meaning it can cause cancer in humans. Chinese-style salted fish is a Group 1 carcinogen, like processed meat.

5. Sugary drinks or non-diet soda

Obesity is a major risk factor for several cancers, and as such, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. This can be achieved through a balanced diet that incorporates all food groups. If consumed regularly, sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and, in excessive amounts, obesity.

6. Fast food or processed foods

Greater body fatness is a cause of many cancers. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting ‘fast foods’ and other processed foods high in fat, starches, or sugars, as this helps control calorie intake and maintain a healthy weight.

Not only can removing or reducing carcinogenic foods in your diet help reduce the risk of cancer, it can also help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your focus and general well-being.

Cancer-fighting foods

1. Fruit and vegetables

The Cancer Council tells us that fibre-rich diets that are achieved by eating adequate servings of fruit and vegetables every day can help prevent one in six bowel cancer cases.

Eating the recommended five servings of fruit and vegetables a day can help reduce your risk of oesophageal, lung, and some forms of mouth and throat cancer.

2. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene, a chemical that offers “moderate protection” against prostate cancer for those who consume large amounts of raw tomatoes. If you can introduce more tomatoes into your diet, be it raw, tinned, or cooked, it decreases your chances of getting prostate cancer. This is particularly relevant to men over 50, as this is the age at which the risk of prostate cancer increases.

3. Garlic

Not only does garlic add flavour to many meals, but it is also anti-carcinogenic. According to research by the Cancer Council Australia, high levels of allium vegetables (such as onions, garlic, and shallots) reduce the risk of stomach cancer. They state that garlic “probably” protects against bowel cancer.

Add more garlic to your diet by making fresh, homemade dishes for lunches and dinners rather than shop-bought-ready meals. Meals like stir-fries, chicken hot pots (a warm broth with chicken, vegetables, and noodles or potatoes cooked in a single pot), and oven-baked fish dishes can all be made using plenty of garlic.

4. Citrus fruits

Research suggests that citrus intake may significantly reduce the risk of esophageal cancer. A review looking at nine studies also found that a greater intake of citrus fruits was linked to a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer.

Another review showed that a high intake of citrus fruit (at least three servings per week) reduced the risk of stomach cancer by 28%. To make sure you’re eating enough citrus fruits, try putting lemon slices in your tea, dressing a salad with lime, and eating grapefruits for breakfast.

5. Carrots

They may not help you see in the dark, but there is “suggestive evidence” that carrots can, in fact, lower the risk of cervical cancer. High in vitamin A and antioxidants, carrots are also high in fibre, which can help keep you regular and minimise the risk of bowel cancer.

To make sure you’re eating enough carrots, try eating snacks such as carrot sticks and hummus. A quick and tasty snack, they’re also easy to eat at your desk or on-the-go.

6. Wholegrains

There is strong evidence that eating whole grains helps protect against colorectal cancer. Wholegrains contain dietary fibre and include brown rice, wholegrain bread, quinoa, spelt, and oats. As well as protecting against some types of cancer, they are also known to improve digestion and reduce cholesterol levels.

Source: https://www.aetnainternational.com

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