According to the American Cancer Society, there will be more than 1,762,450 new cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Although no food, special diet, or supplement can prevent cancer, some foods may lower the risk, such as leafy green vegetables, berries, and whole grains. However, there are also foods that may increase a person's risk for specific types of cancer. By eliminating or reducing notably carcinogenic foods from our diets, we may be able to reduce our chances of developing cancer.
1. Processed Meats
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans are eating more meat than ever, around 222 pounds each year, per person. Processed meats including sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, packaged lunch meat, beef jerky, ham, and bacon may increase the odds of developing colorectal cancer. The World Health Organization warns that daily consumption of even one hot dog or a few strips of bacon increases cancer risk by 18%. Processed meats are any that have been cured, smoked, salted, canned, or dried. They contain nitrates, preservatives added to enhance flavor and deter bacteria growth. Nitrates also occur naturally in fresh foods. Researchers can anecdotally link them to cancer, though the research is inconclusive and ongoing.
2. Hot Beverages
A study in the International Journal of Cancer showed a connection between esophageal cancer and hot beverages. Consuming a beverage such as hot tea at temperatures higher than 140 degrees causes thermal damage to the cells that line the esophagus and may be responsible for this increased risk. Those who drink hot beverages before letting them cool, and also consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes, increase their chances of developing esophageal cancer five-fold.