Can your diet save you from cancer?
Can certain types of foods cause cancer? Our expert explains
It is difficult to prove that certain foods cause cancer. However, Dr. Rajesh Bollam, Consultant Medical oncologist and Hemato-oncologist, Yashoda Hospitals, does share his concerns. “Observational studies have repeatedly indicated that high consumption of certain foods may increase the likelihood of developing cancer,” he says. “Processed foods such as hot dogs, ham, bacon, chorizo, and salami are high in sugar and low in fiber. Moreover, the nutrients in these foods have been linked with the increased risk of several cancers, including stomach, breast and colorectal cancers.”
Then talking about the possible reduced cancer risk among vegetarians and vegans, he adds, “People on plant-based diets may have reduced risks of cancer because of a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and a low intake of processed foods.”
Additionally, the doctor tells us that certain cooking methods — cooking certain foods at high temperatures, such as grilling and frying can produce harmful compounds in red meats. Certain cheeses, fried eggs, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, oils, and nuts can also increase cancer risks. “Avoid burning food. Choose gentler cooking methods, especially when cooking meat, such as steaming, stewing, boiling, or slow-cooking,” advises Dr. Rajesh.
The oncologist cautions about risks associated with being obese. “Obesity increases the risk of getting 13 types of cancer, including that of the esophagus, colon, pancreas, and kidney, as well as breast cancer after menopause,” Dr. Rajesh adds.
First published in The Asian Age, 3 Februrary 2020