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Study: Avoid These 4 Foods to Fight Liver Cancer

By on October 2, 2013
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For years nutritionists have recommended eggs, chicken breasts, and other healthy foods as a great way to stay slim–but now emerging evidence from Mexico says that these foods could harbor cancer-causing toxins.

Called aflatoxins, these carcinogens are often found in liver tumors, and is considered a trigger for liver cancer.

Magda Carvajal Moreno of the Biology Institute at National Autonomous University of Mexico headed a recent study which highlighted the prevalence of these toxins in foods.

“This research is the first in the world to report that cervical cancer can also be caused by ingesting aflatoxin contaminated food,” says Moreno. “This carcinogenic has also been detected as a trigger of colorectal, pancreatic, breast and lung cancer.”

Though major health organizations in the United States aren’t concerned, Moreno is–and there may be a good reason why.

Details of the Study

Analyzing nearly 800 kilos of tortillas, chili peppers, corn, and rice in Mexico City, Moreno tested these foods for aflatoxins, which commonly accumulate in the water and soil as a natural by-product. Animal sources of food were also tested, including chicken breasts, gizzards, and eggs.

After the analysis was over, Moreno discovered the unthinkable–traces of aflatoxins were present in all of the samples.

However, the FDA says that this isn’t any cause for concern–at least in small amounts.

“The FDA believes occasionally eating small amounts of aflatoxin poses little risk over a lifetime,” says the FDA. “It is not practical to attempt to remove aflatoxin from food products in order to make them safer.”

Moreno, on the other hand, says there is definitely a reason to be concerned, most likely due to its connections with liver cancer. According to recent statistics, over 30,000 people, mostly men, will be diagnosed with this cancer this year–and over 21,000 of them are guaranteed to die.

Why the FDA doesn’t consider this a concern is questionable–but Moreno recommends keeping your exposure low by opting for whole wheat tortillas, fish instead of chicken, and upping your antioxidant intake.

Other Ways to Lower Your Toxin Intake

For most people, they assume the obvious when it comes to minimizing their intake of aflatoxins: Simply opt for organic foods instead. But unfortunately even doing this won’t minimize your toxin exposure, says MedLine plus.

“Aflatoxins are toxins produced by a mold that grows in nuts, seeds, and legumes,” writes MedLine Plus. “To help minimize risk, the FDA tests foods that may contain aflatoxin.”

But what you can do to minimize your risk is to avoid foods that commonly carry this carcinogen, according to MedLine Plus. The main culprits? Peanuts, pecans, corn, and certain oil seeds, such as cottonseed–though these toxins may also be found in chicken.

Because the FDA heavily regulates how much aflatoxin is allowed into foods, they also recommend only buying from trusted brands instead of brands located overseas.

“You can reduce aflatoxin intake by buying only major brands of nuts and nut butters,” writes MedLine Plus. “Peanuts and peanut butter are some of the most rigorously tested products by FDA because they frequently contain aflatoxins and are widely consumed.”

Readers: Are you concerned about toxins in your food? How do you minimize your risk?

Sources:
Safety of AflatoxinNLM.NIH.gov
Mexican Study Says Toxins Are in Your FoodScienceDaily.com

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