In 2018, cancer was the cause of death for 9.6 million people worldwide. In the country, cancer is one of the leading causes of death, second only to heart disease. However, the death rate due to cancer has significantly dropped in the last 25 years in the country. Do you know why? Advancements in medical technologies now enable early detection and treatment of the disease. More importantly, though, is the willingness of the general population to make dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of this illness.
One should keep in mind that there is no strong evidence to prove a direct relationship between eating certain foods and developing cancer, but there is quite a strong association between people leading unhealthy lifestyles, undergoing chronic emotional and mental stress, eating poor diets, and being diagnosed with cancer. Data gathered from cancer patients around the world authenticate the fact that a combination of risk factors could work together to trigger malignant cells. This article focuses on three foods that may contribute to the risk of cancer.
- Fruits and vegetables: Don’t be surprised, first on this list is fruits and vegetables. Especially those that are not organically grown. Farmers tend to use a concoction of pesticides and herbicides to keep pests away, increase their yield, and produce a large beautiful-looking yield. They, unfortunately, do not think of the repercussions of millions of people consuming this chemical-laden food. For example, arsenic, ethylene oxide, and lindane are some pesticides that may cause a range of cancers like non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, pancreatic, lung, or non-melanoma skin cancers. Pesticides disrupt hormones, damage DNA, and cause inflammation in tissues. When babies in the womb and young children who have not yet attained puberty are exposed to pesticides, the chances of them developing cancer when they are older is increased multifold. Sadly, farmers and farm workers themselves who are exposed to pesticides suffer from prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, or skin cancer.
- Farmed salmon: While fish like salmon is an excellent source of healthy fats, scientists believe that farm-raised salmon yield increased doses of Omega 6 fatty acids that cause inflammation, and lower levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that fight inflammation. That is not good news because chronic inflammation can induce cancer. Plus, farm-raised fish have at least 20% lesser protein than wild-caught fish. Since they are grown in crowded conditions, contamination with concentrated doses of antibiotics and carcinogenic chemicals that cause melanoma, liver cancer, gall bladder cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, and even brain cancer are not ruled out.
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil: To add flavor and texture, save money, and increase the shelf life of certain processed foods like margarine; vegetable shortening; non-dairy coffee creamers; frozen ready-to-fry fast foods like chicken, fish, hamburgers, french fries, and fried noodles; readymade bakery goods like muffins, cakes, pastries, and doughnuts; and a whole lot of other packaged foods like potato and corn chips, pretzels, ready-to-eat pizzas, sweet pies, meat pies, and sausage rolls partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is used. This increases levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, and lowers high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol levels in the body. A published study stated that increased serum cholesterol can cause colon, rectal, prostatic, and testicular cancer in men and high dietary cholesterol increases the risk of breast cancer in women.