Cancer is a broad term for a group of many related diseases that involve cells in a part of the body that grow out of control.
This abnormal cell growth has the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. There are more than 200 different types of cancer.
Cancer causes a huge number of deaths every year. Millions of people each year are diagnosed with different types of cancer, such as breast, skin, oral, colon, ovarian, bladder and other cancers.
Possible signs and symptoms of cancer include a new lump in the body, abnormal bleeding, unexplained weight loss, sudden change in bowel movements, frequent fevers or infections, fatigue, loss of appetite, shortness of breath and coughing. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also occur due to other issues.
You can take measures to reduce your risk of developing cancer—quit smoking, drink in moderation, maintain a healthy body weight, reduce stress, get proper sleep and lead an active lifestyle.
In addition, eating healthy is important and you must eliminate cancer-causing foods from your diet. The most common culprits are processed foods containing carcinogens.
Here are the top 10 cancer-causing foods that you must avoid.
1. Microwave Popcorn
While watching a movie or television at home, many of us like to have popcorn. Pop a little bag in the microwave and a big bowl of tasty popcorn is ready. However, microwave popcorn puts you at a higher risk of cancer.
Conventional microwave popcorn bags contain a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is highly toxic in nature.
In fact, several studies have found that people with workplace exposure to PFOA are at a higher risk of bladder and kidney cancers.
In addition, according to a 2009 study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, PFOA can cause impaired fertility in women.
When it comes to ingredients, microwave popcorn has soybean oil (a GMO product) and various preservatives, such as propyl gallate.
If you love popcorn, make it in an air popper to avoid these health-related concerns.
2. Canned Tomatoes
Canned foods allow you to enjoy your favorite vegetables throughout the year. However, if you are concerned about your health, avoid canned food, especially canned tomatoes.
The cans used to pack tomatoes and other foods are lined with a product called bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disruptor that may mimic or disrupt hormones and increase the risks for breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty, metabolic disorders, infertility, and several other problems.
When it comes to canned foods, canned tomatoes are more harmful to your health due to their high acidity, which allows the BPA from the can lining to soak into the tomatoes easily.
Instead of canned tomatoes, try to use fresh organic tomatoes as much as possible. You can also buy diced or whole tomatoes packed in glass bottles.
3. Farmed Salmon
Most of us are aware of the health benefits of eating salmon and even enjoy this fish a few times a week. However, many people do not think about whether they are eating farmed or wild salmon.
Farmed salmon is nowhere near as healthy as wild salmon, and eating farmed salmon puts you at a higher risk of developing cancer.
A 2004 study published in Science Magazine revealed that farmed salmon has significantly higher levels of cancer-causing and other health-related contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and toxaphene as compared to wild salmon.
The study even concluded that eating more than one farmed salmon meal a month could pose unacceptable cancer risks.
Farmed salmon also contains high levels of mercury and flame retardants.
As a majority of the salmon served in restaurants and sold in grocery stores is farmed rather than wild, you must avoid ordering salmon when eating out.
When buying salmon, make sure it is labeled as wild. Wild salmon is more expensive than farmed, but it’s worth the extra cost.
4. Hydrogenated Oil
Hydrogenated oil is not extracted naturally like olive, soy or canola oil and hence is not good for your health. Chemically extracted from vegetables, hydrogenated oil is again chemically treated to change the smell and taste, as well as extend its shelf life. This type of oil is used to preserve processed foods.
Some amount of omega–6 fatty acids is good for your health. However, an excess like that found in hydrogenated oil influences the structure and flexibility of cell membranes. This in turn increases your cancer risk, especially for skin cancer.
Moreover, the trans fats in hydrogenated oil promote breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer risk.
You must never cook with hydrogenated oil. Instead, use extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin coconut oil or palm oil.
5. Potato Chips
Children as well as adults like potato chips. To make potato chips crispy, they are deep-fried in temperatures above 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit).
This causes them to make a material called acrylamide, a well-known carcinogen found in cigarettes. According to a 2006 study published in the International Journal of Cancer, dietary acrylamide puts you at a higher risk of ovarian, prostate, digestive tract and breast cancers.
Potato chips are also high in fat and calories, which contribute to unhealthy weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other health problems. Plus, they contain artificial flavors and numerous preservatives that are not good for your health.
Instead of buying potato chips from the market, make them at home using healthy oil like olive oil. You can also opt for baked potato chips or tortilla chips, which contain less fat and calories. You can also try baked apple or banana chips, which are much healthier than regular potato chips.
6. Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs)
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like corn, potatoes, grains and soybeans are extremely harmful to the body. Such food products are grown using harmful chemicals and, when consumed, can lead to immune system, brain and liver damage.
In fact, the chemicals used to grow these foods cause rapid tumor growth.
As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no testing procedures for GMO foods, you need to look for labels that state the food is GMO-free. Try to buy locally grown fruits, vegetables and grains as much as possible.