2. Processed meats
Unless you are a vegetarian, you probably have ham, bacon, and sausages in your refrigerator. However, you probably didn’t know that the preservatives added to these meats to make them seem fresh and appetizing are linked to cancer. For instance, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate, which find their way into a range of cured meats, are known to significantly increase your risk of colorectal tumors.
Whenever you cook processed meats like cold cuts in oil, a chemical reaction causes sodium nitrite to bond with amines and produce N-nitroso, a known cancer-causing compound. Studies reveal that N-nitroso is associated with cancers of the brain, stomach, and intestines.
Eating one hot dog – a processed meat – each day raises your risk for colorectal cancer by 20 percent according to a study led by the American Institute of Cancer Research. A separate study by the University of Southern California and Cancer Research Center of Hawaii identified a link between consumption of processed meats and cancer. People who had greater intake of processed meats had a 68 percent higher risk for pancreatic cancer. A research in Sweden found that Swedes who consumed 3 ounces of processed meat a day were 15 percent more likely to get stomach cancer compared to those who ate less of them each day.
To reduce your risk for developing cancer, only choose meat products that are free from nitrites and nitrates. If this is not possible, you can at least limit your intake. Ideally, you should avoid processed meats altogether, as they are high in salt, which increases your risk of cancerous changes to your stomach. But those you should stay away from the most are hotdog, bacon, ham, and salami because they contain the most preservatives and additives, and thus pose the greatest risk in cancer development compared to other processed meats. A healthier alternative is to make your own cooked meats by roasting a joint of beef, lamb, or pork each week to slice for use in sandwiches and salads.