According to the American Cancer Society, one in three women will develop cancer. If you’re a man, the odds are even worse — one man in two will come down with a form of cancer. Given that more than half of the various types of cancer come from lifestyle choices, it makes sense to get rid of practices that are harmful. Take a look at ten foods that are a major part of the American diet that can lead to cancer.
1. Refined White Flour
“Refined white flour” might sound healthy, but it refers to flour that has gone through a bleaching process. You eat some of those chemicals when you eat food made with this type of flour. White rice, white pasta and white bread contain this form of flour. These flours also have an extremely high carbohydrate count, disturbing the balance of sugar in our blood, causing the body to create more insulin — which nourishes cancer cells. Also avoid sweetened sodas and concentrated fruit juice to keep your body from that insulin reaction.
This substance is a pesticide that is currently sprayed on hundreds of crops. The chemicals have been connected to everything from intestinal pain to birth defects and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. If you want to avoid this and other pesticides in the food that you eat, purchase foods that have been certified as organic.
3. Refined Sugar
When you eat foods with refined sugars, your body responds by pumping out insulin in high amounts. Researchers have found that this process also nourished cancer cells. If you drink sodas sweetened with fructose, that can contribute to cancer. Soda also pushes the body into acidity, making cancer cells multiply.
4. “Diet” Foods
Just because a food has zero calories does not make it safer. When you consume something with “diet” on the label, you likely are consuming some form of artificial sweetener. Saccharin is an artificial sweetener that caused cancer in laboratory rats, according to the National Cancer Institute. Such food dyes as Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 contain carcinogenic substances. Sticking with the regular version of diet foods is the better bet to avoid cancer, so long as you consume them in moderation.
5. Salmon From Farms
Salmon is great — it has a ton of the Omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy. Unfortunately, salmon from farms often is filled with PCBs, antibiotics and pesticides, all of which can cause cancer. Choose wild salmon instead. It costs a little more, but it’s a lot less likely to cause cancer.
6. Red Meat
When you eat red meat, you take in a sugar molecule known as Neu5Gc, and then it becomes part of your own cells. The body recognizes it as a foreign substance and attacks it, and the resulting inflammation boosts your cancer risk. According to Medscape, women who eat red meat have a higher risk of breast cancer. If you stick to grass fed organic beef, those substances are much less likely to show up.
7. Microwave Popcorn
The artificial butter in microwave popcorn has a chemical in it that can harm your lungs if you inhale it. These kernels also contain PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), which has links to cancer as well. If you want popcorn at home, air pop it yourself — and add the flavorings that you want.
8. Processed Meats
Lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, sausage and other forms of processed meat can boost your danger of pancreatic cancer by as much as 67%, according to a study from the University of Hawaii. Hot dogs have a lot of sodium nitrite, which has been on the USDA’s list of ingredients that they have wanted to ban for almost 40 years. When you eat hot dogs, your risk of leukemia goes up by 700%. So look for meats without nitrites on the label.
9. Hydrogenated Oils
This type of oil has trans fats it in — the unhealthiest kind of fat out there for you. It leads to heart disease, cancer, and issues with your immune system. Instead of vegetable oil, use olive, palm or coconut oil.
10. French Fries
Lots of restaurants fry these in hydrogenated vegetable oil and then cover them with salt. Yes, the hydrogenated oils are a problem, but so is the pile of salt. It elevates your blood pressure and can cause other health issues.