Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Could be in Your Diet Right Now that Could be Increasing Your Risk of Cancer

Diet and other lifestyle factors can have a significant impact on your risk of developing cancer. By getting enough exercise and eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits, veggies and other whole, natural foods, you can lower your risk of developing all types of cancers.

Sometimes, simply knowing which foods to avoid can also help you to lower your risk, as certain ingredients have been shown to have a strong link to the development of cancer. Here are several ingredients that could be in your diet right now that could be increasing your risk of cancer:

Aspartame

Aspartame is one of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners, and much research has suggested that it can increase your risk of cancer. Research on the issue has been debated, as some feel that the evidence is not conclusive or that it only shows a correlation when very high amounts are used. However, it may be better to be safe than sorry and to avoid this artificial sweetener, which is found in everything from diet sodas to yogurt to ice cream. It is also sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal.

Nitrates

Nitrates are what are added to hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats (such as salami and deli meat) to preserve the meat and keep the color fresh. Sodium nitrates (the kind added to meats) are converted into nitrosamine in the body, which is a known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). You can also find nitrosamines in fried and smoked foods.

Pesticides

Pesticides are commonly used on all kinds of fruit and produce in order to keep them free of bugs during the growing process. Unfortunately, many of these pesticides are carcinogenic. It is best to stick with organic produce that has not been sprayed with these dangerous chemicals. If you can't buy organic for all your produce, just focus on organic for the "dirty dozen", which are the produce that are sprayed with the most pesticides.

Hydrogenated Oils

Hydrogenated oils are regular vegetable oils that have been heated in the presence of hydrogen, which helps to prolong their shelf life but also creates carcinogenic trans fats. Hydrogenated oils are found in everything from fried foods to breads to cakes and cookies. Look for hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils on the package and avoid these foods.

Acrylamides

Acrylamides are created when foods are fried, forming when starchy foods are exposed to very high heats. Studies have shown that acrylamides can increase the risk of several types of cancer. It's best to avoid fried foods and stick to their healthy baked counterparts and avoid these dangerous chemicals altogether.

While genetic predisposition is a big risk factor for cancer, your diet and lifestyle choices also have a big impact. It is important to learn about the harmful substances that could be in your foods and increasing your risk. Of course, choosing a whole-foods diet that is full of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is also one of the best ways to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet that will reduce your risk of cancer and many other diseases.


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