Cut out fries and chips.Nitr/shutterstock
When foods are baked, fried, or roasted at high temperatures (think French fries and potato chips), a potential cancer-causing compound called acrylamide forms, a result of the chemical changes that occur in the foods. Studies performed on rats have shown that prolonged acrylamide exposure is a risk for multiple types of cancer. Human studies are ongoing; but even if the results are benign, it’s healthiest to switch from French fries and potato chips to foods like mashed potatoes and pretzels.
Stop tanning.Albina Glisic/shutterstock
Exposure to natural sun and tanning beds has been shown to increase your risk for skin cancer. But spray-on tans aren’t completely risk-free either; the chemical dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is an active ingredient in fake tanning products, including lotions and tanning spray, and the FDA warns that DHA shouldn’t be sprayed into the mouth, eyes, or nose because the risks of inhalation are unknown. When high amounts of these chemicals are breathed in, they can create free radicals, which have been linked to cell damage and cancer risk. The safest option: no tan at all. If you must, use an at-home lotion and wear protective gear. These sunscreen myths make dermatologists cringe, make sure you’re not making them.
Drink milk.Billion Photos/Shutterstock
Recent studies have shown that calcium may protect against colon cancer: Participants in the Nurses’ Health Study who consumed more than 700 mg of calcium per day per day had up to a 45 percent reduced risk of colon cancer than those who consumed 500 mg or less per day. Although 700 mg may sound like a lot, it can add up with a cup of low-fat yogurt for breakfast (345 mg), a cup of low-fat milk with lunch (300 mg), and a cup of spinach in your salad with dinner (292 mg).