Cancer is a complex disease. There are several different types of cancers, as well as numerous potential causes. We still don't know all of the answers about cancer, but we do know that many factors can contribute to its development.
Family history and genetic makeup play a role. But external factors that you may have some control over — like your lifestyle changes — have an even huge impact. In fact, research shows that 80 to 90% of malignant tumours are related to external factors.
Your diet is one of the most important lifestyle factors to consider. That is because a large body of research has shown that some foods are associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
A bad diet can influence our risk of developing cancer. According to researchers, poor nutrition, being overweight, not exercising, and drinking alcohol are associated with 1 in 5 cancers in India and 1 in 6 cancer deaths. They also found that people who engage in the highest levels of physical activity or active lifestyle, eat healthy food and avoid addictions are less prone to cancer. They suggest adopting a balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains while avoiding red meats, sugary beverages, highly processed meals, and refined grains.
Some foods can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, both of which are linked to cancer. Other foods contain carcinogens, which are hazardous substances that have the potential to cause cancer. However, carcinogen exposure may not always result in cancer. It depends on your genetics, as well as the level and duration of carcinogen exposure.
We've listed some of cancer causing foods that should be avoided to lower the risk of getting cancer, these include:
#1. Fried Foods
When you cooked starchy foods at high temperatures, a compound known as acrylamide is formed. This mostly happens while frying, roasting, baking, and toasting. Fried starchy foods are usually high in acrylamide. This includes fried potato products, like potato chips and french fries.
Eating enough fried food also raises your risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. These conditions can promote oxidative stress and inflammation, further raising your risk of developing cancer.
#2. Alcohol and Tobacco
The consumption of alcohol is a leading cause of cancer. Excessive consumption of beer, cocktails, and vines disturbs blood sugar levels in the body and harms body cells. Tobacco in the form of cigarettes, paan, and gutka causes oral cancer.
#3. Dairy Products
There’s some evidence that high calcium intake may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Dairy foods include products like processed cheese, flavoured yogurts, low-fat dairy (sugar is added to account for low-fat content), ice creams, milkshakes, sweetened condensed milk, smoothies, milk chocolate, etc are also some of the food items that raise the risk of having cancer.
#4. Ultra processed foods
Popular food items such as instant noodles and soups, boxed meals, ready-to-eat meals, and bakery foods like biscuits, buns, and rusk, among others, contain hydrogenated oils, which disrupt the body's omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid balance, causing general inflammation, in turn leading to cancer.
#5. Refined Sugar
They cause a spike in blood glucose and can higher the risk of numerous cancers. Foods like candies, popsicles, donuts, cotton candies, soda, fruit juices, package cakes, energy bars, breakfast cereals (cornflakes), pancake syrup, chocolate syrup, ketchup, barbeque sauce, and bottled salad dressing are best avoided to prevent cancer.
#6. Processed meats
Any form of meat that has been preserved by salting, smoking, curing, or canning is considered processed meat. Most of the processed meats are red meats. The following are some examples of processed red meat:
Red meat, steak, lamb, etc have certain impounds that enhance the formation of carcinogenic compounds, thereby increasing the risk factors of cancer. The methods by which processed meat is made can create carcinogens.
#7. Overcooked Foods
Overcooking foods can produce carcinogens, especially meats. According to research, cooking meat with high heat produces carcinogenic PAHs and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These substances may higher your cancer risk by altering the DNA of your cells.
If you cook at a high temperature or over a flame, you are more likely to overcook your food. This includes cooking methods such as:
If you want to reduce the risk of cancer from high-heat cooking, you can use healthier cooking methods, such as:
Baking or roasting at lower temperatures
Slow cooking in a crock pot or slow cooker
Fried foods, overcooked food and processed meat may increase your risk of some types of cancer. That’s because these foods may contain carcinogens or substances that cause cancer.
Alcohol produces carcinogens when it’s metabolized by your body. Dairy and refined sugar may also increase the risk of some types of cancer.
You can reduce your risk of cancer by limiting the consumption of these foods and adopting healthy lifestyle habits. This includes eating more cancer-fighting foods that may lower your cancer risk, getting regular exercise, and finding ways to reduce your stress.