Healthy eating habits are known to prevent cancer, but there are other small lifestyle modifications that you can easily accommodate to reduce the risks of cancer. While scientists continue to investigate the causes of cancer, it is safe to say that our lifestyle choices enhance the risks. Unfortunately, present urban living usually involves high-stress levels and increased intake of processed food, artificial sugars, and trans fats. While it is tough to avoid these totally, you can be more aware and opt for healthier options, which will surely go a long way in preventing cancer.
Avoiding smoking and drinking are not the only ways to prevent cancer. Small modifications to your everyday life may be your first steps in preventing cancer:
Go for Glass or Ceramic Containers for Microwave Cooking
You don't think twice before using the microwave oven to heat the leftovers from last night stored in a takeaway container. Many times we don't bother to check whether the container is microwave-safe or not. For instance, takeout containers are generally not microwave-compliant unless specified otherwise. The same goes for plastic storage bags from the grocery stores. Plastic containers not meant for microwave can melt and leak chemicals or carcinogens in your food. Instead, opt for glass or ceramic microwave-safe containers to cook or heat food in your microwave oven. Make it a habit to check whether the container is microwave-safe or not.
Pressure Cook the Popcorn Instead of Microwaving it
Microwavable popcorn is a preferred snack when watching movies. But did you know that microwavable-popcorn bags are lined with Perflurooctanoic Acid (PFOA) or C8, which is known to be one of the causes of cancer of the kidneys, liver, and the pancreas? Further, diacetyl, a synthetic butter flavouring used in microwave popcorn can cause cancer.
So, look for healthy alternatives. Go for organic corn kernels and pressure cook them or if you have to use the microwave, use a paper bag to pop your kernels so you can enjoy your popcorn without increasing your risk of cancer.
Ditch Red Meat
A diet high in red meat is known to be one of the causes of cancer--colorectal and the stomach. Therefore, try to limit your intake of red meat to no more than 18 ounces of cooked meat per week and steer clear of processed meats, such as bacon or sausages, to reduce cancer risk.
Cooking red meat at high temperatures has also been deemed as a cause of cancer particularly of the prostate. Such meat contains Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAHs) and Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs), which are known to greatly increase the risks.
Say No to Rancid Oils
Many Indian homes still follow the practice of cooling oil after using it for frying and then, storing it for reuse. Street food stalls also tend to reuse oils many times. Heating oil, again and again, makes it rancid. It is easy to recognize rancid oil. It is darker in color, smells different and leaves a residue. While rancid oil will not harm you immediately, it will produce harmful chemicals which act as carcinogens. Try to avoid cooking in rancid oil to decrease your risk of developing cancer.
To Grill or Not to Grill
Grilled meat might make your mouth water but there is a carcinogen lurking in that tasty bite. When you grill meat at high temperature a chemical reaction leads to the creation of HCA, which is known to increase your risk of cancer. Instead of totally eliminating grilling from your food, try to make grilling as safe as possible with these simple tips:
Reduce the grill time by pre-cooking the meat. Trimming the fat before grilling is one way in which you can still have your favourite grilled food without increasing your chances of getting cancer. Even better, go for grilled vegetables and fruits, which do not produce HCA. This makes grilling a much safer option too.
The More Natural it is ... The Better it is
As a rule, try to go for natural products as much as possible. Many a time, products that contain artificial sweeteners are marked as 'diet' or 'reduced sugar'. Make it a point to go through the ingredient labels before consuming the food product. Take the example of fruit juices. We assume they are healthy but most fruit juices contain artificial colors and sweeteners. Increased consumption of artificial sweeteners and colors can lead to cancer. So, plonk for the healthier and natural options. Ditch that soft drink and opt for freshly squeezed lemonade or green tea, instead!
Making a change is always tough. However, when these are undertaken in a slow and steady manner, they can go a long way in helping you prevent cancer. Such initiatives can only benefit you and increase your immunity and ability to fight the disease. The choice then, is yours.
Disclaimer: This publication/editorial/article does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.