5 Diet Blunders That Are Increasing Your Risk For Cancer


Published: April 28, 2015

Let’s be honest! We all have bad eating habits that make our doctors cringe. When it comes to the fight against breast cancer, there are certain habits that could actually increase your risk. How many of these diet blunders are you making?

1. Drinking too much alcohol. Sure, there is nothing wrong with having the occasional drink but excessive drinking has been consistently demonstrated to put your body at risk. According to the American Cancer Society , women who have 2-5 drinks per day are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer than their alcohol avoiding counterparts. If you must drink, choose no more than 1 drink a day. A drink is defined as 150 ml wine, 350ml beer or wine cooler, 240 ml malt liquor, 45ml distilled spirits like gin, vodka, whiskey etc.

2. Peeling your beans and discarding the skin. We love moin-moin but did you know that peeling the beans as most of us do in the kitchen removes valuable fiber from the diet? Fiber is important in the prevention of breast cancer because it reduces the excess amounts of estrogen in the body bysticking to the free estrogen in the gut and helping the body get rid of it in the stool. Studies indicate that consuming 10g of fiber daily reduces risk of developing breast cancer by 7%. Aim for at least 25-35g of fiber daily and enjoy some fiber with your moin-moin. One of our Radiant Chef shows you how in this recipe.

RELATED: 5 Foods That Reduce Your Risk for Cancer

3. Eating charred meats. We all love a good BBQ but eating those burnt ends of meat introduces carcinogenic compounds into your body. Shave off any burnt pieces and take precaution to prevent disease by reducing the overall amount of BBQ you eat and taking precautions when you BBQ.

4. Eating too many sugary and fatty foods. Although a direct correlation between cancer risk and fats and sugars is yet to be substantiated, it is well established that excess calories from sugary and/or fatty foods contribute to obesity, a leading cause of many forms of cancer including that of the breast. Aim to consume no more than 20% of your total calories from fat and avoid eating more than 6 teaspoons of sugar every day. Rather, choose lean cuts of meat and bake, roast or broil foods instead of frying them. Choose water instead of sugar-laden beverages and snack on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of the high calorie chin-chin, chips, biscuits and other sweets.

MORE: Jelilat’s Story: Surviving Triple Negative Breast Cancer

5. Peeling the skin off the apple. An apple a day certainly keeps the doctor away…but you must eat the skin. Apple skins contain triterpenoids- anti-oxidants that have been shown to either prevent cancer cells or stop their spread. So next time you grab an apple, simply wash it well and take a bite of the cancer fighting nutrients right there in the skin.

Regardless of how many diet blunders you may be making today, the good news is that it is never too later to get back on track. Just start.

Here’s to your health.

MORE: Breast Cancer Survivor VeRitta Smith on Self Care And Finding Purpose in the Midst of the Storm

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About Cordialis Msora-Kasago

Cordialis Msora-Kasago is a Registered Dietitian (R.D) and a pioneer in the discussion of modern day healthy lifestyles in Africa. She is the founder of The African Pot Nutrition - an organization that improves the health of African people through sustainable diet and lifestyle programs. Follow her on twitter @africadietitian.

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