- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Foods With A Cancerous Link
So is there a link between food and cancer?
While the link between diet and cancer isn’t built on as solid a foundation as other proven carcinogenics such as smoking clearly has and radiation exposure continues to do , it’s very important the risks that some food types can present anyone with.
Controlling your diet is a chief facet of everyday life and one which is vital when someone is battling cancer. You’ll often hear of ‘cancer diets’ where a patient has to adhere to a rigorous and highly controlled diet, revolving around a lot fruits and vegetables with very little processed food.
And while many foods can't out rightly be labelled as causing cancer, some major foodstuffs do have links with cancer diagnoses. This hub will highlight just some of those more well known, and one not so well known, cancerous foods.
Do you think certain foods can cause cancer?
Having a diet rich in red meat is not a healthy one. Now it’s not meat that is undercooked and ill-prepared that causes harm.
When red meats are cooked over a barbecue or fried in their own fats, the surface creates a hardened layer that is usually very crispy. This layer is covered in what are called ‘heterocyclic amines’ that are housed in the char. These amines can make it hard for the body to process the food and been seen as a toxin in some cases.
Although it doesn’t have a proven direct link, the impact of red meat on the body can’t be ignored and a person shouldn’t be eating any more than 5oz on any given day. So don't go thinking a steak a day will keep the doctor away. And yes that means cutting down on how bacon you can eat too.
Cancer Fighting Foods
Food To Stop Cancer?
While it can't be proven that any particular food really does stop cancer, many foods contain properties that are seen as being full of anti-carcinogenic properties.
There are seemingly thousands of books out there that claim to have cancer beating diets, but very little to offer in terms of actual prof that they work.
The video on the right highlights just 10 that are replete with all the good stuff for your body. As long as your diet is a nice balance of fresh food over processed food, you're already doing a good job.
What do you think is the biggest cause of cancer?
The liver performs a very complicated job for the body, and one that can’t easily be disrupted.
Any level of alcohol puts strain on the organ to work. Having what is seen as a consistently high level of intake (anything over the daily average of 3-4 units) has slight links with liver cancer diagnosis with people in their mid-40s and 50s.
If you’ve ever noticed that severe alcoholics have a skin complexion similar to that of someone with cancer (jaundiced and gaunt), you can see that the similarities are more than just a coincidence. Alcohol can put a big strain on your liver, which already has a hard enough time of trying to keep everything in your body in check.
It might sound like common sense, but really having a balanced and controlled intake of alcohol can drastically improve how your body reacts in the long term.
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Salted Fish Cantonese Style
Yes this is a very specific food to eat, and has be known to be identified as a common dietary factor in Asian men.
Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, otherwise known as NPC, is a common cancer amongst Asian men that can be traced back to carcinogenic properties in how this food is made and cooked. It’s quite similar to the amines in red meat, but much more notable.
One revelation about the food is that it is one of the first solid food children have during weaning, meaning it affects the body from a very young age. This helps provide a basis for the argument that cancer can start from a young age at a cellular level, but show no signs of prevalence until later in life.
Of course this affects a lot of what happens in the body, be it raising cholesterol or making it harder for blood to pump around the body. And while there is no approval that ‘salt=cancer’, the level of salt in processed food is what makes the link between poor diet and cancer so unique. The easiest way to combat this: taste before you taste. What do we mean by this? More often than enough, a person will season their food before lifting a fork. Nearly all food will already use salt in the cooking process, so doubling down on it with every meal is not going to do any good.
So what should I do with my diet?
The changes you can make to your diet shouldn't be seen as stopping cancer, but giving you an overall better improvement for your body. Here are some key points to take away from this hub:
- Salt should always be something you only have to add if necessary, not compulsory.
- Cutting down on red meat is best for your heart and bowels over a long time.
- The more alcohol you have, the harder your liver has to work
- No one food can stop cancer, but many foods can build better defences in the body
- Alcohol and cancer : Cancer Research UK
Find out the seven types of cancer alcohol can cause, how light drinking can put your health at risk and how to help reduce your risk.
- Cancer Chemotherapy - Oncologist Specialists - The LOC
A leading cancer clinic in the UK
- Red meat and bowel cancer risk - Live Well - NHS Choices
An NHS page all about the link between red meat and bowel cancer.