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Simple Changes for Cancer Prevention
I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been affected by cancer. While many people know of the connections between smoking and alcohol, there are also less talked about potential cancer causing agents to consider.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the leading organization connected with the WHO, has classified processed meat as a carcinogen. These include hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, and deli meats. They found that eating 50 grams of processed meat every day increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. That’s the equivalent of about 4 strips of bacon or 1 hot dog.
The recommendation: Avoid processed meats (ie. ham and bacon). Substitute processed meats for chicken and fish. Increase vegetables, beans and legumes.
Research strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in plastics, such as bisphenol-A (BPA), may cause cancer in people. You will find BPA in hard, clear plastics ie. water bottles and in the lining of canned goods. Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor. This means that it may mimic or disrupt hormones – in this case, estrogen. Being exposed to endocrine disruptors may lead to certain types of cancer.
The recommendation: Swap out plastics for ceramic, glass and stainless steel. Buy “BPA” free plastics. Limit use of canned goods. Don’t cook or heat food in plastic containers not intended for food.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
This is a manmade chemical applied as a coating to non-stick cookware, so food will not stick. The problem is, when heated at high temperatures, it gives off fumes that releases the chemical and can be harmful to your health. Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles, breasts, and pancreas. In 2014, IARC classified PFOA as a possible cause of cancer based on limited human and animal studies.
The recommendation: Avoid non-stick cookware. Replace pots, pans and baking sheets with stainless steel, ceramic and green pans. Check out local eco-stores for more information.
With an increasing awareness for healthier options, finding better choices is a lot easier. Make the changes.
Rachel Schwartzman is a board certified naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist. She maintains a general family practice in Toronto. Visit: rachelschwartzman.com.