The mention of the word CANCER, sends chills down the spine of so many people in our world today. Our body is made up of cells. Cancerous cells divide (grow) without a stop, old cells that are meant to die keeps dividing. Cancer is simply the abnormal growth of cells in the body.
Our nutrition is the backbone of healthy living. What you eat contains substances that can either reduce or increase your risk of developing cancer but because people eat different kinds of food, with varying quantities, it is difficult to study their various interactions in relation to cancer.
Yet, the link between diet and cancer supported by invitro, and epidemiological studies, is convincing. According to research, your diet can influence your risk of developing cancer by initiating, promoting or enhancing cancer progression.
This article would inform you of what you need to know about how your diet can influence your risk of developing cancer.
HOW YOUR DIET CAN INCREASES YOUR RISK OF DEVELOPING CANCER
- If Your Diet is High in Fat and Calories: A diet high in fat and calories most often leads to weight gain, which may be a risk factor of developing cancer. High dairy products such as cheese and ice-cream, foods containing excess sugars, red meat, may causes obesity. Research linking obesity with cancer is limited but suggest that they may have the potential to increase your risk of having cancer of different types, such as breast and prostate cancer. According to research, about 10% of deaths due to cancer are as a result of obesity.
- If You Consume Alcohol a Lot: According to research, constant and excessive consumption of alcohol overtime may increase the risk of developing cancer of the parynx, mouth, colon, breast, kidney, liver and others. There is still bulk research ongoing to determine how alcohol consumption can cause cancer, but alcohol consumption has been severally linked with cancer. Ethanol and acetaldehyde are compounds present in alcohol which can cause harm to the body. Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and alters DNA repair. Alcohol is also capable of bring about the accumulation of estrogen in the body by preventing the breakdown of estrogen. The American Cancer Society recommends a total avoidance or reduction of alcohol intake.
- If Your Diet Lacks Antioxidants: Antioxidants are compounds that stops or mitigate oxidation, a process that can lead to cell damage. Antioxidants such as thiols, beta-carotene, selenium, vitamin C, and many more, protects cells from damage by terminating chain reactions leading to oxidation. Oxidation can occur naturally by normal cell process or be activated by external factors. The association between a lack of antioxidants in a diet and the relation to cancer is controversial and complex. Although antioxidants are beneficial for normal wellbeing, a lack of healthy diet rich in antioxidants may increase your risk of developing cancer.
- If You Constantly Consume Food Contaminated With Toxins: The accumulation of toxins and chemicals in the body over time might influence your risk of cancer development. Bihalves shell-fish are known to bio-accumulate poly-aromatic hydrocarbons from water bodies.
Aflatoxin b1, a naturally occurring mycotoxin in plants, they contaminate food produce such as grains and nuts. Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus produces alatoxin b1 and a prolonged exposure to aflatoxin is known to cause liver cancer as a result of DNA mutations and DNA damage.
- If Your Diet Consist of Highly Chemically-Processed foods: Processed foods are foods that has been treated in other to improve their flavor. They usually contain high salt, fat and sugar content. A lot of chemicals are added to food in other to preserve or improve their flavor, texture or color. Some chemicals such as nitrates and used in processing foods are potential carcinogens. Highly processed foods has potentials of containing poly-aromatic hydrocarbons which are carcinogenic, through various food processing technique such as smoking, grilling, and barbecuing.
- Overcooked Foods: A lot of harmful substances are formed during pyrolysis. These compounds such as Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (P.H.As) and Heterocyclic Amines (H.C.As) are pro-carcinogens. Cooking starchy foods at a very high temperature forms acrylamide, a toxic and classified potentially cancer-causing compound. The body is capable of bio-accumulating theses toxic compounds and overtime, may increase the risk of developing cancer.