Cancer is a difficult illness to recognize. There are several forms of cancers, as well as several possible causes. While we don’t have all the answers, we know that many factors can play a role in cancer growth. Diet is at the top of the most critical lifestyle variables to remember. That’s because a broad body of evidence suggests that certain foods are linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. In this article, we’ll look at some of the foods and beverages that may boost your cancer risk, as well as what the scientific evidence suggests about the relationship between these foods and cancer risk.
1. Processed Meats
Any meat preserved by salting, smoking, curing or canning is considered processed meat. Red meats make up the bulk of processed meats. The following are some examples of processed red meat:
Processed meats can contain carcinogens due to the processes used to make them. Curing meat with nitrite, for example, can create carcinogens known as N-nitroso compounds, according to a 2018 report. Carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons may also be generated by smoking meat (PAHs). Processed meat is a significant risk factor for colorectal cancer, according to a 2019 study. It’s also related to stomach cancer, according to a separate 2019 report. Researchers discovered that eating a lot of processed meat was linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in a 2018 study.
2. Fried Foods
A compound called acrylamide is formed when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures. This can happen while you’re frying, baking, roasting, or toasting something. Acrylamide is particularly strong in fried starchy foods. French fries and potato chips are examples of fried potato items. In rat studies, acrylamide was found to be carcinogenic, according to a 2018 study. It is listed as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Acrylamide damages DNA and causes apoptosis, or cell death, according to a 2020 report. Consuming a lot of fried food raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity. These conditions can increase your cancer risk by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation.
3. Overcooked foods
Carcinogens can be produced by overcooking foods, especially meats. Cooking meat over high heat produces carcinogenic PAHs and heterocyclic amines, according to a 2020 report (HCAs). By altering the DNA of your cells, these substances can increase your risk of cancer. When you cook at high temperatures or over an open flame, you’re more likely to overcook your food. This includes approaches such as:
According to the Food and Drug Administration, overcooking starchy foods, such as potatoes increases acrylamide formation.
Using safe cooking methods to reduce the risk of carcinogens from high-heat cooking, such as:
-slow cooking in a crockpot or slow cooker
-lower-temperature baking or roasting
-crockpot or slow cooker slow cooking
4. Dairy products
Dairy intake has been related to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Dairy foods include things such as:
Dairy consumption raises insulin-like growth factor 1 levels, according to a 2014 study (IGF-1). This is related to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer cells can become more proliferative or produce more IGF-1.
5. Processed carbohydrates and sugar
Sugary foods and refined carbohydrates may boost your cancer risk indirectly. There are some examples of these foods:
-beverages with added sugar
-goods made from flour
-cereals high in sugar
Consuming many sugary, starchy foods may increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity. Both conditions, according to a 2020 report, encourage inflammation and oxidative stress. This could place you at a higher risk for some cancers. Type 2 diabetes raises the risk of ovarian, breast, and endometrial (uterine) cancer, according to a 2019 study. High blood glucose levels can be caused by a high sugar and refined carbohydrate intake, which, according to a 2017 report, may be a risk factor for colorectal cancer.
To reduce the harmful effects of refined carbohydrates on your wellbeing, replace them with healthier options like:
-bread made from whole grains
-pasta made from whole grains
If you drink alcohol, the liver transforms it into acetaldehyde, which is a carcinogenic compound. Acetaldehyde causes DNA damage and oxidative stress, according to a 2017 study. It also affects your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to distinguish precancerous and cancerous cells. According to a 2015 report, alcohol raises estrogen levels in women’s bodies. This has been linked to an increased risk of estrogen-positive breast cancer.