With so much noise surrounding possible causes of cancer, it’s hard to determine what the true dangers are. The good news is that when it comes to food, there aren’t that many specific types linked to cancer.
While extra weight is a problem (obesity raises the risk of a number of types of cancer), food in general is not generally as carcinogenic as say, smoking, radiation, or viruses. (In fact most cancers are thought to occur spontaneously, with no obvious cause.) However there are a handful of foods that have been linked to a higher risk of cancer. While eating (or drinking) any of these in moderation is probably fine, a lifetime of consuming high amounts, every day, could be a problem.
1. Processed meats: Smoked or cured meats such as hot dogs, bacon, ham, sausages, and bacon are considered carcinogens, so limit your intake.
2. Pickled or highly salted foods: A high intake of salted fish, pickled vegetables, and salty snacks is linked to stomach cancer. Less is better than more, so skip the salt shaker.
3. Alcohol: It can raise your risk of mouth, colorectal, and breast cancer. Limit your intake to no more than one drink a day for women, two for men.
4. Charred meat: High heat plus meat can equal DNA-damaging heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Cook at lower temperatures and flip meat frequently to avoid charring.
5. Scalding hot beverages: Drinking very hot coffee, tea, or soup on the regular is linked to a greater risk of esophageal cancer. Wait for them to cool down.
To ensure you stay healthy, it’s not a bad idea to limit processed meats, pickled items, alcohol, charred meats, and piping hot drinks. There’s no way to protect yourself from every type of cancer, but a healthy lifestyle in general can help.