“Microwave popcorn is loaded with artificial butter, and the fumes from it contain the toxic compound diacetyl that is associated with lung cancers,” says Eitan Yefenof, PhD, chairman of the Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Also known as a “butter bomb,” diacetyl gives popcorn that distinctive buttery flavor and aroma. There’s more: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the linings of microwave-popcorn bags as “likely” carcinogenic. Check out these 6 tips for preventing lung cancer.
Sure, it’s cheaper than the wild-caught stuff, but farmed salmon has higher levels of potentially cancer-causing contaminants. On average, farmed salmon has 16 times the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in wild salmon, four times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the PCBs found in other seafood, the Environmental Working Group reports. Instead, “choose wild-caught salmon and bake it with heart-healthy olive oil,” suggests Steven G. Eisenberg, DO, an oncologist at the California Cancer Associates for Research and Excellence in San Diego. Salmon is rich in healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids, and when consumed in place of unhealthy high-fat protein sources, it can help control weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for many cancers.
Crazy-high temperatures used in the grilling process produce cancer-causing heterocyclic aromatic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic. Dr. Eisenberg won’t eat any red meat—ever—focusing instead on plant-based proteins and fish. Dr. Bonta eats small amounts of red meat but cooks it carefully. “I don’t believe in grilling red meat because … the heme iron and charcoal also have cancer-causing agents,” she says. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on grilling altogether. Check out 7 healthy grilling tips that can reduce your risk of cancer.