Club Cleo Health, Beauty, Wellbeing

Club Cleo Health, Beauty, Wellbeing
Official Blog for Club Cleo: We've Been Making Women Look Great & Feel Fantastic For More Than 2 Decades

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Carcinogens and Cancer Causing Food – Protecting yourself from Cancer

Carcinogens and Cancer Causing Food – Protecting yourself from Cancer

Despite having fallen by 5-10% over the last 30 years, cancer is currently still responsible for more than 25% of all deaths in the UK.

As we all know, the risk of developing cancer is more likely in people with unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake and over-exposure to the sun, but you may be surprised to learn that cancer causing agents, known as carcinogens, are present in some unlikely and seemingly innocent places.

A carcinogen is any substance, radionuclide or radiation likely to contribute to the development of cancer. They are found in all areas of our daily life, including in what we eat and drink.
Our helpful guide advises on what you should try to refrain from eating to help protect yourself from cancer.

What to avoid & why…

Well-done / burnt food – When you blacken your food, the chemical reaction that takes place creates heterocyclic amines, which are carcinogens. This could be anything from burnt popcorn to well-done steak. Whilst charred food may have an appealing flavour – it’s not good for you, so be particularly wary during BBQ season!

Too much alcohol – Many people enjoy a drink or two but one or two is the healthy limit. Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of cancer, and heavy drinkers are five times more likely to get liver cancer than teetotal or moderate drinkers.

Fats – Saturated fats have been reported as being directly linked to breast cancer, amongst others. One important factor to note is that the worst saturated fats came from animal products such as meat and dairy; some fat in your diet is necessary, but fats that come from plants are less carcinogenic.  

Salted, smoked, spicy and pickled foods -
A high intake of salt or salt preserved foods increases the risk of stomach cancer. People eating more than 16g/day are two-three times more at risk than those who eat less than 10g/day. Similar risks are faced by people who eat lots of spicy, pickled or smoked foods; so if you enjoy food with pazazz – enjoy it in small doses.  

Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners are well documented as being a cause of cancer. The sweeteners to avoid are aspartame, saccharin and cyclamate. These sweeteners are commonly found in soft drinks, but can also be found in yoghurts, crisps and table top sweeteners. 

Red and processed meats – Whilst red meat is flavoursome and processed meat is great in sandwiches, you should for the most part substitute them with non-processed white meats or fish. For chilli, bolognese or cottage pie, use a vegetarian alternative with the same texture. It’s all about moderation, if you prefer dark meat, or find it more convenient to use processed meat in snacks, then it’s fine as long as they’re not the majority of your everyday diet. 

Cooking at High Temperatures – Cooking food at high temperatures creates a chemical known as acrylamide (a substance produced for industrial use), also found in cigarette smoke. Studies have shown that acrylamide can cause cancer in animals when they receive very high doses. Try cooking slow and low, it takes longer, but prevents the creation of this highly toxic constituent and can enhance the flavour of your dish.

Sugar – Whilst there are no proven direct links between sugar and cancer, too much of it can lead to high blood sugar levels which increases the growth of cancerous cells. Replacing sugar with a natural alternative such as honey is a much better option. Check out this directory of natural sweeteners for great, healthy sugar alternatives.

Farm Raised Fish – You will no doubt already know that fish is a fantastically healthy, high protein, low-fat foo, b
ut if you buy it from the wrong source it won’t be. Farm raised fish tend to be less good for you as they are known to contain large amounts of PCB’s, a pollutant which has potential links to cancer.

Fizzy Drinks – Fizzy drinks are carcinogenic for multiple reasons; they contain large amounts of sugars, sweeteners and other additives, and can reverse the benefits gained through healthier foods. Fizzy drinks are one of the carcinogens that cannot be managed through moderation; they should be excluded from your diet all together.