While no one goes around trying to consume things that will make them ill, the truth of the matter is, there are many unnatural products out there that can wreak havoc on our health. The American Institute for Cancer even states on their website that, “of the most common US cancers, about one third of the cases are preventable through a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. This translates to approximately 350,000 preventable cases of cancer this year.”
While cancer can feel like an inescapable disease, it’s helpful to know there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of developing it. But first, you need to know about the following 10 toxins to avoid:
1. Processed Meats
From hot dogs, sausages, and bacon to most luncheon meats, processed meats contain chemicals and excessive amounts of salt that damage your health. A study published in the journal BMC Medicine found an overwhelming association between processed meat and cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“Overall, we estimate that 3% of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20g processed meat per day,” explained Prof Sabine Rohrmann from the University of Zurich, who led this analysis.
2. BPA-Lined Cans
BPA, which stands for bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Found in hard plastics and resins, and used to coat metal cans, research has linked BPA to cancer, infertility, diabetes, and obesity.
3. Cured And Smoked Foods
Smoked and cured foods often use nitrites and nitrates to act as preservatives and prevent food from spoiling, but when cooked, those chemicals change into byproducts called N-nitroso compounds, such as nitrosamines and nitrosamides. One study, for instance, of nearly 10,000 adult males and a 24-year follow-up, revealed a relationship between sodium nitrates from smoked fish and colorectal cancer.
4. Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn is a convenient and relatively healthy snack, but the bag it comes in is another story. Many microwave popcorn bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA). This toxin has been found to significantly increase the risk of breast, bladder, kidney, prostate, thyroid, colorectal, lung, leukemia, and lymphoma cancers.
GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) have infiltrated our food supply and become quite controversial. One study found that Roundup-treated GM corn as well as the herbicide used on it increases cancer in rats. Glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s widely used herbicide Roundup—has been exposed as a potential endocrine disruptor, which can cause cancer tumors.
Sugar continues to negatively impact our diet, as we fight to find ways to keep it out while still enjoying sweet sensations. Cancer cells thrive on sugar, as well as any food that converts to sugar, like grains, pastas, carbs, breads, and many fruits. Eliminating sugar is key. One study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that diets high in sugar are a major risk factor for certain types of cancers, especially breast cancer.
7. Hydrogenated Oils
Also known as trans-fats, hydrogenated oils are a man-made product whose chemical structure has been altered to increase shelf life. Chemicals are also used to mask the odor and change the taste of the oil. Research has confirmed that hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils present in industrial processed food double the risk of breast cancer.
Sodas are filled with loads of added sugar and empty calories. Linked to weight gain, inflammation, and insulin resistance, they also contain a slew of artificial colorings and chemicals foreign to the body. This makes it no surprise that research has linked drinking soda to a higher risk of cancer, including pancreatic cancer.
9. Soy Protein Isolate
While unprocessed soybeans offer individuals an excellent source of protein, among other things, 90-95 percent of U.S.-grown soybeans, used to create soy protein isolate, have been genetically modified to withstand herbicides. Soy protein isolates are known to contain anti-nutrients that can hinder the body’s ability to digest food and absorb the nutrients into the bloodstream. Foods high in isoflavones—which are weak estrogen-like compounds—like soy protein isolate, have also been found to promote the development, growth, and spread of breast cancers in some individuals.
10. White Flour
Commercially-grown grains like white flour start off as seeds that are treated with fungicide. The plants are then sprayed with pesticides, harvested, and stored in bins coated with insecticides—all of which increase toxicity. Grains are then processed using high temperatures and high speed rollers, often using chlorine oxide as a whitener. The end result is a starch absent of nutrients, rich in toxins, and potentially carcinogenic. Scientific evidence indicates that bleached white flour significantly raises the risk of lung cancer as well.