By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
May 8, 2017
- What you don’t know about cancer could kill you
- Kick these cancer-causing foods to the curb
- 6 unexpected ways to avoid cancer
For the most part, I find that most people think cancer is genetic… just the luck of the draw. So it might surprise you to learn that only about 5-10% of cancers are a direct result of genetics.
All of the others – a whopping 90% to 95% of cancers – are rooted in lifestyle factors. And I’m not just talking about a lifetime of smoking cigarettes or exposure to chemical laden products.
Much of your risk falls well within other areas of your life that you have complete control over.
In fact, what you don’t know about cancer may kill you faster than what you do know about it.
If you want to sidestep this deadly disease, here’s what you absolutely must know…
Kick these Cancer-Causing Foods to the Curb
Did you know that the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a Class 1 carcinogen? This puts bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham and other processed meats in the same category as cigarette smoking and asbestos.
Here’s the thing. It only takes 50 grams of processed meat a day to increase your chances of colorectal cancer by about 18%. Your risk of pancreatic cancer is about the same.
To put this in perspective, 50 grams is the equivalent of two sausage patties at breakfast or a single hot dog at lunch. It’s less than 2 ounces of ham on your ham sandwich.
In other words, a little bit of processed meat goes a long way when it comes to cancer risk.
Meats that aren’t processed are also associated with increased chances of cancer. This is especially true when they’re cooked at high heat – which is what puts the “sear” on meat and locks the flavor in. It’s also what puts the “char” on ribs and chicken cooked on the grill.
However, these high temperatures release cancer-causing compounds, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These substances are linked to many types of cancer; including cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, pancreas and stomach.
But it’s not only meat you have to think about.
Refined carbs and sugars fuel the growth of cancer cells. They provide malignant cells with a steady supply of glucose that they use to gain mass and thrive. To make things worse, excess glucose also affects insulin signaling in a way that directly promotes the spread of tumor cells.
6 Unexpected Ways to Avoid Cancer
Surprisingly, what you don’t eat can raise your risk of cancer just as much as what you do eat. For instance, there is clear evidence that diets low in fruits and vegetables raise the risk of stomach, lung, rectal and esophageal cancers. A higher chance of breast cancer, in particular, is associated with low vegetable intake.
So it’s just as important to add fresh organic produce to your diet as it is to get rid of foods that boost cancer risk.
And here’s one more thing I bet will surprise you.
You know that exercise is good for your heart. But did you know that higher levels of physical activity can decrease your cancer risk? The greater the frequency and intensity, the more protection you get against breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
This makes a high-intensity-interval training program a very important part of your anti-cancer regiment.
And here’s a special bonus. Eating more plant-based foods and getting more exercise both help you lose weight. This is an added risk reduction, since a higher proportion of body fat spurs cancer growth. (About 20% of cancers cases are caused by obesity.)
- Don’t eat processed meats on a regular basis. Save them for the occasional Super Bowl party, holiday get-together or Sunday brunch.
- Bake, baste, poach or roast your meats whenever possible.Slow cook methods such as baking, basting, poaching and roasting release fewer cancer-causing chemicals than cooking meats at high heat.
- Get in the habit of avoiding processed foods that are loaded with refined carbs and sugars.
- Eat your fruits and veggies every day – as many servings as you want, all day long.
- Move your body as much as possible and set aside at least 15 minutes each day for a high-intensity-interval workout.
- If you’re overweight, don’t give up on your weight loss efforts. Just making the changes outlined above can give you a big boost toward your goals.
IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat. Press Release. World Health Organization. Oct 2015.
S C Larsson, et al. Red and processed meat consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: meta-analysis of prospective studies. Br J Cancer. 2012 Jan 31;106(3):603-7.
Knize MG, et al. Formation and human risk of carcinogenic heterocyclic amines formed from natural precursors in meat. Nutr Rev. 2005 May;63(5):158-65.
Joshi AD, et al. Red meat and poultry, cooking practices, genetic susceptibility and risk of prostate cancer: results from the California Collaborative Prostate Cancer Study. Carcinogenesis. Nov; 33(11): 2108–2118.
Zheng W, et al. Well-done meat intake and the risk of breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998 Nov 18;90(22):1724-9
Klement RJ, et al. Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer? Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Oct 26;8:75.
Riboli E, et al. Epidemiologic evidence of the protective effect of fruit and vegetables on cancer risk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):559S-569S.
Lauby-Secretan B, et al. Body Fatness and Cancer-Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. N Engl J Med. 2016; 375:794-798.
De Pergola G, et al. Obesity as a Major Risk Factor for Cancer. J Obes. 2013; 2013: 291546.