Don’t Fall for Rumors – Study Links Variety of Salted Fish to Increased Risk of Cancer


Cantonese salted fish contains nitrosamines, nitrosamine precursors and nitrosamines, high levels of which are known to induce the development of cancers in experimental models.

Photo: iStock

New Delhi: It’s an age of information and misinformation – being well read can be both a virtue and a vice. And with food taking precedence over everything else for health and well-being, it becomes even more important to make the right choices and not see everything as a single category. Fish, for example, is a healthy food rich in lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are associated with weight management, insulin and a healthy heart. However, not all varieties provide these benefits. It turns out that there is a strain that could backfire more than expected and increase cancer risk in unimaginable ways.
The Diet and Cancer report, published by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), assessed the effect of Cantonese salted fish on cancer risk – experts have found that this type of fish may increase the risk of cancer of the nasopharynx – a rare disease affecting the part of the throat connecting the back of the nose to the back of the mouth.
Cantonese-style saltfish is preserved and dried with salt and is found in parts of Asia. It uses less salt than other salty foods, but undergoes a higher degree of fermentation during the drying process. Evidence suggests that storing and processing food may, to some extent, increase the risk of cancer.

How does Cantonese-style salted fish contribute to cancer risk?

Cantonese salted fish contains nitrosamines, nitrosamine precursors and nitrosamines, high levels of which are known to induce the development of cancers in experimental models.

Alternatively, doctors recommend eating foods low in sodium, salt, and high in fiber to fight cancer risk. Along with this, abstinence from smoking, alcohol and sedentary lifestyle habits is suggested. Some of the healthiest varieties of fish are fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

Preserved and processed meat does not go well with a cancer-free routine. Red meat is also on the not recommended list – however, chicken and turkey could be beneficial.

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.

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