Up to half of cancers may be preventable with diet or lifestyle changes, according to MedlinePlus. While some foods, including plant-based foods that are high in fiber and beneficial phytochemicals, may lower your risk for cancer, other foods may increase this risk. Limit red and processed meats, high-calorie foods without a lot of nutrients, alcohol and salty foods.
Red and Processed Meat
Red and processed meat consumption may increase your risk for colon, lung, liver and esophageal cancer, according to a study published in "PLOS Medicine" in December 2007. When you do eat meat, the American Cancer Society recommends broiling, baking or poaching instead of charbroiling or frying it, which may increase the formation of cancer-causing substances in the meat.
High-Fat and High-Sugar Foods
Approximately 20 percent of cancer deaths may be at least partly due to obesity, according to an article published in "Molecular Endocrinology" in December 2012. Therefore, eating foods that increase your risk for obesity, including fast food, foods high in fat and foods high in sugar may increase your risk for cancer, especially if you fill up on these foods instead of eating more nutritious, cancer-fighting foods.
Even light alcohol consumption of up to one drink a day may increase your risk for some cancers, according to a study published in "Annals of Oncology" in 2013. While colon and liver cancer risk didn't appear to be increased by this amount of drinking, breast, oral and esophageal cancer were more likely in those who drank alcoholic beverages.
People who prefer their food very salty may be more likely to develop stomach cancer, according to a study published in the "World Journal of Gastroenterology" in April 2011. This increased risk is more likely if you regularly eat salt-preserved or salt-pickled foods, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- MedlinePlus: Diet and Cancer
- HelpGuide.org: The Anti-Cancer Diet
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Diet and Cancer Prevention
- American Cancer Society: Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?
- PLOS Medicine: A Prospective Study of Red and Processed Meat Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk
- Annals of Oncology: Light Acohol Drinking and Cancer: A Meta-analysis
- Obesity Reviews: Fast Food Consumption and Increased Caloric Intake: A Systematic Review of a Trajectory Towards Weight Gain and Obesity Risk
- World Journal of Gastroenterology: A Case-control Study on the Relationship Between Salt Intake and Salty Taste and Risk of Gastric Cancer
- Molecular Endocrinology: Minireview: The Year in Obesity and Cancer