Cancer is the second highest cause of death in the US after heart disease. The most common cancers (other than skin cancers) in order of mortality are lung cancer, breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, colorectal cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and thyroid cancer.
Diets high in processed foods (canned and lunch meats, hot dogs, bacons, sausages, etc.), deep-fried foods and red meats have been shown to increase risk for breast and colorectal cancer. In the case of colorectal cancer, diet has been found as one of the highest risk factors. According to CNCA Health, a diet high in processed meats may increase chances of developing colorectal (and stomach and pancreatic) cancer by 50 percent or more.
When amino acids and creatinine (a chemical in muscle meats) interact with high cooking temperatures, HCAs (hetero-cyclic-amines) are formed. At least 17 different HCAs have been identified as potentially increasing the risk of developing cancer, including colorectal cancer. When potato chips, snack chips and french fries are super-heated, high levels of acryl-amides are formed, which are thought to be a human carcinogen. Because cancer cells use sugar and fructose (found in sodas and other processed sweets) more efficiently and in greater quantities than healthy cells, a diet lower in these ingredients may lower the risk of developing cancer.
Foods high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, foods low in sugar and fructose, foods heated to lower temperatures (for the same or slightly longer periods), and red meat limited to 18 ounces per week for adults, are thought to reduce the chances of developing diet-related cancers.
To strengthen your fight against the chances of cancer, the surgeon general recommends adding five daily servings of vegetables and fruits to your diet.
- Start with leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens and kale.
- Add pungent bulbs of garlic and the orange-colored Indian spice turmeric (containing curcuma) that keep cancer causing agents at bay.
- Generous helpings of easily available and tasty cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower protect cells from free radicals that damage their DNA.
- Juicy red tomatoes, containing high concentrations of lycopene, protect against prostate cancer.
- Pinto or kidney beans containing anti-oxidants and fiber are good cancer fighters.
- Whole grain foods containing fiber and antioxidants, such as multi-grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice, brown pasta, lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Skins of red grapes, grape juice and red wines contain resveratrol, an anti-oxidant, prevent cancer cells from beginning or spreading.
The fight against cancer is an affordable diet with easily found items at your local grocery store.