Foods to avoid if you have a history of cancer in your family

Foods to avoid if you have a history of cancer in your family


A healthy diet can help you prevent or fight cancer especially, if you have a family with cancer history.

According to Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Drexel University in the US, genes are only a small part of a “cancer risk profile.”

“If you have a family history of cancer, it’s important to know that only 5 to 10% of all cancer cases result from inherited genetic mutations,” Milliron says, speaking on Eat this, Not this.

If you have a history of cancer in your family, making small changes to your diet and behaviours now can make a big difference to your long-term health.

Here are some foods you should be avoiding:


It’s not only a risk for recurrence, either. In 2012, 5.5% of all new cancers (and 5.8% of cancer-related deaths worldwide) were attributed to alcohol, according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

If cancer runs in your family, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether. Not just in large quantities either – believe it or not, it’s the regularity that exacerbates cancer risk.

Red meat

Colorectal (bowel) cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. About 1.4 million new cases were recorded globally in 2012, accounting for 10% of all new cases of cancer.

Consuming red meat increases risk of colon cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Third Expert Report Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective.

Hot dogs

Hot dogs are a type of processed meat that’s high in both fat and salt, which spikes your risk of developing cancer.

“There are compounds in processed meat that are produced when meats are smoked, cured, or when nitrates and nitrites are added,” Milliron says. “These compounds have been linked to an increased risk for certain types of cancer.”

Eating a diet high in fat increases your risk for many types of cancer. But healthy types of fat may actually protect against cancer.

Avoid trans fat or partially hydrogenated oil found in packaged and fried foods such as biscuits, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, French fries, fried chicken, and hard taco shells.

Limit saturated fat from red meat and dairy to no more than 10% of your daily calories.

Add more unsaturated fats from fish, olive oil, nuts and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, tuna, and flaxseeds can fight inflammation and support brain and heart health.

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