Many factors are linked to our chances of getting a disease like cancer. Genetics, eating habits, exercise and tobacco use are all risk factors. But are there foods that we should avoid to help deter this devastating disease?
Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, recommends these basic guidelines to steer clear of cancer-causing foods:
1. Processed foods
Food processing may alter foods in ways that affect cancer risk. An example is the refining of grains, which greatly lowers the amount of fiber and other compounds that may reduce cancer risk. The processing of meat by adding preservatives such as salt or sodium nitrite to prevent the growth of germs, or smoking the meat to preserve or enhance color and flavor, may add compounds that increase the potential of these foods to cause cancer.
2. Sugary foods
Sugar feeds every cell in our body, even cancer cells. While research shows that eating sugar does not necessarily lead to cancer, its impact on your waistline may increase your risk for cancer and other chronic conditions, like diabetes. High-sugar diets also increase inflammation in your body, and chronic inflammation is fuel for many diseases, including cancer.
3. High-fat foods
Butter, whole milk, sour cream, ice cream, whole yogurts and red meats are examples of foods high in animal fat, which contains harmful saturated fats. Fats are necessary for overall health and body function, but unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthier choices. Some studies have linked various cancers to a high-fat diet, especially diets that include red meat and full-fat dairy products.
4. Fried foods
High-carbohydrate foods prepared at elevated temperatures may contain a cancer-causing chemical called acrylamide. Studies have shown that large consumption of acrylamide may cause health problems, including damage to the nervous system and increased risk of cancer. Plus, fried foods have substantially more calories and fat than the same foods that are baked.
5. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Although there is no conclusive evidence, GMOs have been linked to cancer. Some animal studies have indicated serious health risks, including cancer, infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulations, as well as changes to major organs and the gastrointestinal system.
Learn more about nutrition during the cancer journey.