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4 everyday foods linked to an increased cancer risk

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Knowing which foods to avoid is just as important as filling your plate with vibrant veggies.

In fact, steering clear of some foods may actually help to reduce your risk of developing cancer.

Although anyone can develop cancer, there is a growing focus on the role diet plays in influencing the risk.

The role diet plays in determining cancer risk is controversial. As per research, certain dietary items have been linked to an increased risk.

Here are four everyday food items found to have a connection with an increased risk of cancer.

1. Hydrogenated vegetable oils

This is a type of fat used by food manufacturers to keep foods fresher for longer. Research has found that hydrogenated vegetable oils are linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. This is due to trans fats that are drenched in these oils. Trans fats are one of the worst types of fats. They are known to contribute to cancer, heart disease and immune system problems.

The World Cancer Research Fund has found no direct evidence that eating vegetable and seed oils in moderation increases the risk of cancer. However, “fats and oils are high in calories and are often found in processed foods such as cakes, pastries and biscuits. We know that frequently consuming high-calorie processed food can contribute to weight gain, overweight and obesity, which in turn can increase your risk of at least 12 different cancers”, the health body notes.

2. Salted foods

Research has shown that foods high in salt can be a significant factor for developing gastric cancer. Salt can damage the lining of the stomach and cause lesions, which are areas of body tissues that have been damaged. If left to develop, this reaction can cause stomach cancer. High blood pressure can also be caused by having too much salt in the diet.

While you may not be adding too much salt in the food you cook, most of the salt we consume comes from the packaged and take-away foods such as pizza, pies, sauces, bread and breakfast cereals. It is worth noting that a food can still be high in salt and not taste salty.

3. Refined sugar

Refined sugar is a processed form of the natural sugar extracted from foods such as cane, sugar beets, and corn. The processed nature of refined sugar can cause cancer cells to metabolise in the body. Refined sugar may also increase an individual’s risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“There’s no good evidence that refined sugar or other types of sugar cause cancer,” says Cancer Research UK. Nonetheless, “too much sugar in our diets can make it harder to keep a healthy weight”, warns the charity.

4. Processed white flour

Another worrisome ingredient is processed white flour, which is found in pastries, breads, and other everyday groceries. Flour is bleached with chlorine gas, which is a chemical used to make the flour whiter.

Processed white flour raises both insulin and blood sugar levels due to its higher glycaemic rate. It is easier for cancer tumours to grow in the body if the person’s blood sugar levels are higher. Increase in blood sugar levels leads to insulin resistance, which can raise your risk of colon cancer—as well as other cancers like kidney cancer.

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