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Foods to Avoid for Cancer

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Foods to Avoid for Cancer
Trade red meat in for fish, chicken or vegetarian protein sources to limit cancer risk. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

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

Foods to Avoid for Cancer
Uncooked steak with herbs and spices Photo Credit Valentyn Volkov/iStock/Getty Images

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

Foods to Avoid for Cancer
Fish and chips Photo Credit Jacek Nowak/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Alcoholic Beverages

Foods to Avoid for Cancer
Glasses of beer Photo Credit MichaŠRóżewski/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Salty Foods

Foods to Avoid for Cancer
Salt spilled from shaker Photo Credit Levent Konuk/iStock/Getty Images

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.

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