and lung cancers, we are reminded that there are some foods we may want to minimize in our diet. In general, with the exception of a poisonous fish in Asia considered a delicacy, and certain mushrooms, few foods are dangerous on their own. A healthy diet consisting of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and moderation with meat/dairy/fast food and high-cal snacks should be the central theme. For those who wish to fine tune their diet and lower their risk further, minimize these:
1. Foods containing acrylamide, such as french fries and potato chips. Acrylamide, a chemical formed when starchy foods are heated, was labeled a probable human carcinogen in 2005. A list of acrylamide content in various foods can be found at http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/acrylamideintakefdaappendix.pdf.
2. Grapefruit. It saddens us to list a forbidden fruit, but those trying to lower their risk of breast cancer should moderate their grapefruit consumption. Women who consume a quarter of a grapefruit on a daily basis, are 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. Grapefruit interferes with an enzyme in the liver – allowing the gut to reabsorb more of the body’s natural estrogen – resulting in a higher level of estrogen in the body.
3. Trans fats. As New York City set out to eliminate trans fats from restaurants, and food labels began listing trans fats in 2006, the world became aware that saturated fats alone were not the problem. For those who think New York went to the extreme, check out a study that has me reading food labels. The amount of trans fats in a woman’s buttocks is directly proportional to her risk for breast cancer. A word of caution. As products begin eliminating trans fats, what are they substituting? In general, products containing, or that contained, trans fats, should be minimized.
4. Soda. While soda alone has not been linked with cancer, it has been shown to increase the risk of obesity – both the regular variety and diet. Currently obesity is responsible for 20 percent of cancer deaths in women and 14 percent in men. If that doesn’t make that 12-pack less appealing, remember soda is often substituted for other drinks such as water, which lowers the risk of certain cancers, and the cancer-fighting phytochemicals in vegetable and fruit juices.
5. Processed meats. Regular consumption of processed meats is associated with cancers of the lung, colon, liver, and esophagus. Esophageal cancer is the most rapidly growing cancer in the USA.
6. Fried foods. And not simply because of the calories and acrylamide. When oil is heated and reheated, more free radicals are produced. Most importantly, avoid fried foods when eating out – where restaurants frequently reheat the oil they use, or “top-off” the old oil rather than starting fresh.
7. Foods containing the preservatives BHT, BHA. BHT has been shown to cause cancer in animals. BHA is considered a possible human carcinogen.
8. Orange peel. That is – orange peel from non-organic Florida oranges. The food dye citrus red #2, known to cause cancer in animals, is used to make the greenish appearance of Florida oranges resemble the deep orange of California oranges.
9. Refined sugar. A high intake of refined sugar, also known as a high glycemic load, is associated with cancer of the breast and upper digestive tract.
10. Smoked and pickled foods. Both smoked and pickled foods are associated with cancers of the digestive tract.
For further information on cancer prevention, visit http://www.avoidcancernow.com, or read “Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time: Practical Advice for Preventing Cancer.”