You know the seriousness of cancer. You know the toll it takes mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and physically. It causes stress in your own mind and body as well as in your relationships with friends and family. It can make it hard to do the things you’ve always done as a human being, a parent, or an employee.
There’s nothing in your daily existence that cancer doesn’t touch. It’s an exhausting villain to fight and it wipes you out in so many ways that are hard to explain to people who haven’t felt the impact of this horrific disease in their own lives.
What if I told you there was something you could do right now to cut your cancer risk in half? That’s right, in half!
If you knew there was a way to prevent cancer from ever invading your life and turning it upside down… would you do it?
People talk a lot about “cures” in the health industry but there’s a saying you probably heard from your grandparents that makes a lot more sense…
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
I talk a lot about the foods that fight cancer and lower your cancer risk. Now I’m going to talk to you about known, scientifically proven, cancer causing foods that actively increase the chance that you’ll be diagnosed with cancer in your lifetime.
There are cases where it strikes quickly but it is more common when cancer manifests after years of specific habits. Good examples of this are smoking and overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which result in lung cancer and skin cancer, respectively.
Experts estimate that more than half the cases of cancer are preventable with lifestyle changes.
In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 14 million new cases of cancer… which resulted in more than 8.2 million deathsworldwide. They expect these numbers to skyrocket over the next twenty years by a whopping 70% globally!
The top 5 most-diagnosed cancers in men: lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver.
The top 5 most-diagnosed cancers in women: breast, colorectal, lung, cervix, and stomach.
I point this out because you’ll note that several of the most common (and aggressive) cancers have to do with your gastrointestinal system. The function of your body that processes the food you eat, distributes it around your body as needed, and does its best to dump the leftover toxins.
That makes it a major area of your daily life that dramatically affects your prevention – and ultimately your survival – of cancer. The food and beverages you consume, the fuel your body uses to fight disease, is critical to your overall wellbeing.
Some foods are worse for you than others and are increasing your risk of many conditions and diseases. While cancer is one of the worst, regularly eating the cancer causing foods in our top ten list can also lead to heart disease, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and so much more.
Top 10 Cancer Causing Foods to Cut Your Cancer Risk in Half
- Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The rapidly growing industry ofgenetically modified crops are infiltrating our food supply at an alarming rate. More than 90% of our corn and soy are now genetically modified. This fairly new practice is the source of many debates. Experts agree that adequate testing was not done before GMO foods were added to the ingredient listing of thousands of products. In other words, no one – including the growers and manufacturers of GMO foods – knows the long-term effect they will have on human health. Look for GMO-free labels whenever possible or buy organic (which always means a product is not genetically modified).
- Microwave Popcorn: From the chemically-lined bag to the actual contents, microwave popcorn is at the center of lung cancer debates around the world. Not only are the kernels and oil likely GMO (which the manufacturer does not have to disclose) unless organic, the fumes released from artificial butter flavoring contain diacetyl, which is toxic to humans. Make your own organic popcorn the old-fashioned way – it tastes better, doesn’t release toxic fumes, and is a healthier choice for you.
- Canned Goods: Most cans are lined with a product called bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been shown to genetically alter the brain cells of rats. Many plastic goods, thermal paper, water lines, and many dental composites also contain BPA. Stick to fresh or frozen vegetables that have no added ingredients for your family’s table! These are better for you and available year-round.
- Grilled Red Meat: While grilled food can taste delicious, scientists have discovered that preparing meats in this way – especially processed meats like hot dogs – releases a carcinogen called heterocyclic aromatic amines. When you grill red meat to the point of well-done, it changes the chemical and molecular structure of the meat. You’re better off baking, broiling, or preparing meat in a skillet than on the grill.
- Refined Sugar: The biggest cancer causing food (by far) is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other refined sugars. Even brown sugar is highly refined white sugar with some of the removed molasses added back in for flavor and color. Refined sugars (and foods made with them) are the source of major insulin spikes and feed the growth of cancer cells. Since the majority of the sugar supply in the U.S. is made using genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets, a healthier option is organic honey, coconut sugar, or maple sugar. Now that oncologists are using diabetes medication to fight cancer cells, there’s no doubt (finally) that those mutated cancer cells love sugar.
- Salted, Pickled, and Smoked Foods: These products typically contain preservatives, such as nitrates, which are intended to prolong shelf life. The additives used in processed foods can accumulate in your body over time. Eventually, such toxins cause damage at the cellular level and lead to diseases like cancer. When smoked foods are cooked at high temperatures, the nitrates are converted to the much more dangerous nitrites. (Note: By pickled foods we don’t mean the fermented foods you make at home.)
- Soda and Carbonated Beverages: Sodas have been at the center of the health debate for two decades as a major cancer causing food. Filled with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), dyes, and a host of other chemicals, they are very bad for every aspect of your health. They provide zero nutritional value and rob your body of the nutrients you get from other foods. Adding “diet” to the label means you’re also likely consuming aspartame – which is no better than rat poison to human cells.
- White Flour: When flour is refined, all nutritional value is removed. Then it’s bleached with chlorine gas to make it more appealing to consumers. The glycemic index for white flour is very high – meaning it spikes your insulin levels without providing nutritional fuel. Carbohydrates are converted to sugars by your body, so excessive products that contain white flour can lead to increased insulin resistance. Simple sugars (like refined carbohydrates) are the preferred fuel source for cancer.
- Farmed Fish: Commercial fish farming involves raising an incredible number of fish (such as salmon), in a crowded environment. More than 60% of the salmon consumed in the United States comes from a farming operation where they are treated with antibiotics, pesticides, and other carcinogenic chemicals to try and control the bacterial, viral, and parasitic outbreaks that result from cramming so many fish in a small space. Farmed fish also don’t have as much omega-3 as wild salmon.
- Hydrogenated Oils:Vegetable oils are chemically extracted from their source, chemically treated, and more chemicals are added to change the smell and taste. They’re packed with unhealthy omega-6 fats (that Americans already consume way too much of) and have been proven to alter the structure of our cell membranes.
4 Steps to Help Prevent Cancer
In addition to the 10 foods listed above, also be sure to avoid any food labeled as “diet,” “light,” or “fat-free”. In order to remove fat or natural calories, they are replaced with chemicals that are dangerous to your body.
Instead of consuming food products that manufacturers claim is “good for you” – follow these four anti-cancer diet tips to prevent cancer the easy way:
- Eat organic whenever possible.
- Choose raw or clean frozen if availability of fresh product isn’t good in your area.
- Fill half your plate each meal with non-starchy vegetables. If you eat animal products, make sure they’re pastured and grass-fed meats and dairy goods (including eggs). Use only high quality oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter.
- Cut back drastically on grains and sugars.
Not only will eliminating these foods lower your cancer risk, you’re going to feel (and look) better from the inside out. Now that you know what the top cancer causing foods are, what are you going to do about their presence in your kitchen and your daily eating plan?
Editor’s Note:This article was originally published in December 2014. It was reviewed and updated in January 2016.