Diet and Your Health

In recent years, we have heard more and more about how our diet affect our health , especially in relation to the production of cancers. Research has shown that our diet contains an enormous variety of natural mutagens and carcinogens. It is also apparent that we are ingesting vastly greater qualities of these substances than was previously suspected. Perhaps this natural chemical product should be primary concern rather than the mutagenicity of industrial chemicals, food additives and pollutants in our environment. For example, in 1989 the United States had a big publicity –generated scare concerning the plant growth regulator Alar, which is used to delay ripening of apples so that they do not drop prematurely. Alar was said to be carcinogenic, but when put in perspective with chemicals in our daily diets , it does not to be so bad. For instance, the hydrazines in a helping of mushrooms are 60 times more carcinogenic than the Alar consumed in a glass of apple juice or 20 times greater than a daily peanut butter sandwich, which frequently contains aflatoxin B. Our diets contain literally millions of natural chemicals; intact it is not practical to test them all for carcinogenicity.

Animal tests and the and the Ames test have been used to evaluate cooked foods for their potential for inducing cancers; and it has been found that browed sugars or breads contains a variety of mutagens. In addition, caffeine and its close relative theobromine found in coffee, tea, cocoa, and some soft drinks may increase the risk of tumors by inhibiting DNA repair enzymes. Plants synthesize many carcinogenic or teratogenic chemicals as delense mechanism to ward off the animals that want to consume them. Examples of plants plant carcinogens include psoralen and its derivatives, which are widespread in plants and have been used as sunscreen in France; solanine and chaconine are teratogens and are found in greened potatoes. Other food that contains natural cicargens includes banana, basil, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, horseradish, mustard turnips, and black pepper. In addition, red wines are believed to be responsible for the high incidence of stomach cancers among the French people, although red wine also seems to decrease the incidence of coronary heart disease. It seems that nothing can be consumed that does not contain mutagen!

Another big problem with American diet is the consumption of excess quantities of fats. The average American consumes 40% of her/ his calories in the form of fat. Comparisons of cancer death rates in different national populations have provided important clues to the nutrational causes of cancer.  Very different types of cancers appear in the United States than appear in Japan. In United States, colon, breast, and prostate cancer are most prevalent, whereas stomach cancers are in excess in Japan.  When the amount of dietary fat intake is plotted against the number of death by breast cancer, the results are striking; the more fat in the diet, the more higher the rate of breast cancer. How might fat intake cause cancer? It may be caused by rancid fat because it represents a sizable percentage of the fat are very prone to oxidation, which produces a variety of carcinogenic compounds. Another likely explanation is that may carcinogens are soluble in fats and accumulate in the fat of the animals we eat.


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