Cancer is a disease that has directly affected many families and individuals here in the United States. Majority Americans want to live their life cancer free and avoid many of the known exposures to chemicals that would increase the risk of getting cancer. However, little do many people know, the very chemicals that have been linked to increase risk of cancer can be lurking in the same foods you eat on a daily basis.

Here is a list of 12 cancer causing foods to kick out of your diet:

1. Red meat

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Red meat, which includes beef, pork, and lamb, in general contains more fat, which makes it less healthy option then white meat. Not only is it higher in fat but cooking the meat at high temperatures through BBQ and grilling creates heterocyclic amines (HCA’s), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s), both of which have been linked to causing cancer.

If you still want your fix for red meat be mindful of portion size, and of the method you are using to cook the meat to reduce your exposure to chemicals.

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2. Processed meats

Processed meats include ham, bacon, sausage, and salami. These meats contain a chemical known as Haem (also found in red meat), which gives the meat its red color. This chemical can imitate or damage the cells in the bowels. These meats also contain nitrates, which are preservatives. When digested these nitrates turn into N-nitroso compounds, which have been linked to cancer in numerous studies.

Still not convinced that you should take out red and processed meats from your diet? Well for every 120g of red meat eaten per day and every 30g of processed meat eaten in a day, your increase of bowel cancer increases by 28% for red meat eaters, and 9% for processed meats. Therefore, do your best to limit your intake or better yet, avoid these foods all together.

3. Bagged potato chips

Not only are chips known to be high in fat, but there is also a chemical culprit that makes this food one to avoid. The chemical is called acrylamide, it can be found in fried, baked, and grilled foods. This chemical is also one of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. Although it is still unclear as to how much exposure to this chemical is dangerous, you can decrease exposure by limiting your consumption of high fat foods that are baked and/ or fried, and choose options like pretzels or tortilla chips instead.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is one that is always in debate with its health effects. However, it is clear that continually consuming over the serving size (one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men) can increase your risk of mouth, esophagus, bowel, liver, and breast cancer. Keep your drinking to a minimum in order to avoid any dangerous side effects.

5. High salt foods

A diet high in salt can cause a variety of problems such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. When a person consumes a high salt diet the soft lining of the stomach can become inflamed, leaving the body susceptible to cancer causing tumors. According to the Department of Health, consumption of salt should be no more than 6g/day.

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To reduce your consumption of salt limit adding additional salt to recipes, avoid canned soups, and reduce your intake of processed, packaged foods, that tend to be high in sodium.

6. Microwaveable popcorn

Microwaveable popcorn has been known to be an easy, guilt free snack, but it’s the packaging itself that can give you a problem. The bags of microwaveable popcorn are lined with perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), a toxin that is also found in Teflon. Exposure to PFOA can increase your risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, and testicular cancer.

However, you don’t have to give up on popcorn completely, other options are popcorn that can be popped on the stove top, or air popped popcorn that can be found at any grocery store.

7. Canned tomatoes

In general it is recommended to avoid canned produce for its high sodium content and canned fruits for their high sugar content. What makes the canned tomatoes more dangerous than other canned produce?

The acidity in tomatoes can break down the lining of the can it comes in. These cans are typically lined with bisphenol-a (BPA), a chemical also used to make plastics. BPA has been linked to cancer, as well as a few other health issues.

To limit exposure to this chemical it is best to make sure the products are BPA free, or preserve your own tomatoes in glass jars.

8. Processed white flours 

White flours have been getting a bad rap compared to its whole wheat counterparts for years now, and there are good reasons for it. White flours are not only highly processed and stripped of all their nutrients through processing, but they can sometimes be bleached with chlorine gas in order to create the pure white color.

cancer causing foods_003Also, white flour is extremely high on the glycemic index, which means it will spike your blood sugar right after consumption. This is a problem because the high sugar content is known to feed cancerous tumors. White flours can make their way into many foods so check the label and try a whole wheat version instead.

9. GMO foods 

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) are foods that have been manipulated through genetic processing in order to create a product that is “better” than the original form. These foods raise alarms due to studies that found the consumption of GMO foods, especially potatoes, damaged the immune system and caused pre cancerous growths in every test subject (in these studies they used rats as their test subjects).

To make sure your foods do not contain GMO’s go for organic options and make sure there is a no GMO label on packaged foods.

10. Artificial sweeteners/diet anything

When you get a food or drink that is listed diet it typically will include some sort of an artificial sweetener. One that is the most common is Aspartame. Aspartame breaks down in the body and converts to a deadly toxin called DKP. This toxin can lead to cancer and brain tumors when it is digested and absorbed in the body. If you are still tempted to buy a food that is labeled diet, just make sure that it contains all natural sweeteners like Stevia, which contains no calories and can still provide that sweet taste you are looking for.

11. Fruits and vegetables with pesticides

Fruits and veggies tend to be treated with pesticides in order for the farmer to yield the most amount of crop for the season. However these same pesticides have been linked to cancer in numerous studies.

One of the easiest ways to make sure your foods are not affected is to buy all organic produce. The fruits and veggies you want to make sure you buy organic are the ones where you eat the outer most layer of the produce, like lettuce, apples, and berries. Another way to reduce your exposure is to thoroughly wash your produce to remove any pesticide residue that may be lingering on the fruits and veggies.

12. Farmed salmon

Although fish is known for its great source of Omega Fatty Acids, farmed salmon is one you should avoid at all costs. These fish are stored in tiny holding areas, where they end up lacking any Vitamin D, are treated with antibiotics, and are exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, and flame retardants.

When purchasing salmon, and other fish, make sure the fish is listed as wild, meaning it was caught in its natural territory and not exposed to harmful chemicals or antibiotics.

In all the best way to avoid any of the above foods is to keep your diet full of real, natural foods that have no mysterious ingredients in them, and limit your intake of things like red meat, processed meats and alcohol. By eating healthy, keeping physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight you can reduce your risk of cancer even more, and live a long healthy life!

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