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Foods That Are Linked To High Cancer Risk

You're not alone if recent headlines have you worried that all of your favorite meals cause cancer. But there's some good news: cancer-causing foods don't exist. However, several foods have been linked to an elevated risk of the condition, so you should generally minimize them in your daily diet.

1. Meat that has been processed

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in 2015 that processed meats such as hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, prosciutto, and salami are carcinogenic after analyzing over 800 animal and human research. "There is a definite link between processed and red meat and cancer," says Elizabeth Platz, M.P.H., Sc.D., a cancer epidemiologist and researcher at Johns Hopkins University's Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. While the specific reasons are unknown, it's thought that sodium used for preservation reacts with amines in meat to generate carcinogenic chemicals, encouraging the growth of cancer-causing gut flora.

2. Foods in Cans

Low-sodium canned foods can be a healthy and simple way to include more vegetables into your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, BPA in some packaging not only interferes with human hormone synthesis, but it has also been related to malignancies of the breast, prostate, and ovary. People who ate the most canned foods had greater BPA levels in their urine, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Research. "A lot of corporations have decided they don't want BPA in their products anyway," adds Platz, despite experts' claims that the link between the two is weak. If you're worried, Kennedy advises, "Use either fresh or frozen vegetables. It is healthier since more nutrients are retained." Additionally, search for BPA-free cans or goods wrapped in glass.

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