- by Dr Murali Subramanian Oncology India
- 1 Shares
- Apr 07 2017
I Don’t Smoke or Drink, I Eat Well & Exercise. How Did I Still Get Cancer
A 45-year-old man presented himself to an oncologist with the typical symptoms of stomach cancer. His worst fears came true, the biopsy reports showed positive results.
He led an extremely healthy lifestyle; exercised regularly, maintained a balanced diet and did not have any addictions. Yet, cancer had managed to conquer his system. The distraught man asked the doctor, “Why me?” The visibly uncomfortable doctor was speechless.
A lot of their patients may have maintained a healthy lifestyle and yet, end up succumbing to cancer. It may not be just tobacco; we have tons of other carcinogens, which have unfortunately entered our diet chart.
Current status of food quality
“Diet and nutrition are two different aspects of food.” Is the current state of food quality in India a matter of implausible conjecture or a reality yet to dawn in the Indian mindset? Pesticides, preservatives and wasted calories seem to be the trends of the new Indian recipes.
Yes, pesticide residues in food are a growing concern. It is, however, vital to consume healthy and nutritious food after washing them thoroughly. Avoiding fruits and vegetables in fear of residue pesticides would be more harmful that the consumption of minimal residues themselves in causing cancer. Organic foods from reported and accredited farms may be the way forward and needs encouragement from the agriculture department. Educational programmes for farmers from NGO’s and departments would pave the way in foundation of food safety in farms
Traditionally, preservatives were introduced into food products for keeping them safe and edible for long periods. Salt, sugar and vegetable oil are classical examples, synthetic food preservatives like Sodium benzoate and Sodium nitrite can cause hyper reactivity in children and have been linked to gastric cancer as well. These preservatives are commonly found in cold drinks, processed meat, canned food and most importantly, ready-to-make food products.
Food colourants are another group of chemicals quintessentially placed in the “cancer causing family. Adulterants range from chalk powder (common in milk), saw dust (found in chilli powder), non-permitted dyes (common in turmeric powder) to coal tar (found in tea powder). Vegetables like green chillies and green peas are coated with malachite green (highly carcinogenic and are used as dyes to study bacteria) to enhance the colour and fruits like apples are coated with wax give them a glossy finish.
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