It’s no news that environmental factors such as exposures or substances can cause cancer, this leads to rapid division of cells in a rate that is faster than the normal cell division rate. Hence A Carcinogen is defined as any substance, radionuclide, or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer. This may be due to the ability to damage the genome or to the disruption of cellular metabolic processes. Several radioactive substances are considered carcinogens, but their carcinogenic activity is attributed to the radiation, for example gamma rays and alpha particles, which they emit. Common examples of non-radioactive carcinogens are inhaled asbestos, certain dioxins, and tobacco smoke. Although the public generally associates carcinogenicity with synthetic chemicals, it is equally likely to arise in both natural and synthetic substances. Carcinogens are not necessarily immediately toxic; thus their effect can be insidious.
Understanding possible causes of cancer comes down to understanding the causes of gene and DNA mutations. Chemicals (like carcinogens), radiation, obesity, hormones, chronic inflammation, smoking, viruses, and a number of other factors have been found to be cancer causing.
Now there are a whole bunch of carcinogenic substances out there capable of causing cancer, but we are going to discuss the basic human carcinogens we encounter most frequently in our everyday lives for instance food carcinogens. Apparently humans need food to survive so yeah… it is vital to be learned about what we consume and take into our system (especially in high quantities). These includes the following;
- Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs): The rapidly growing industry of genetically 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. Help protect your DNA by sticking 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 the availability of fresh produce 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?
Also there are some outlined substances suspected to be human carcinogens by the International Agency For Research On Cancer