Aflatoxin: A Cancer-Promoting Substance in Common Foods
Aflatoxin is a potent cancer-causing toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus that primarily infects grains and peanuts. They are probably the best known and most intensively researched mycotoxins (mold toxins) in the world.
Researchers believe that aflatoxin promotes cancer by inactivating a tumor-suppressor gene called p53.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers these toxins to be “unavoidable contaminants” and allows them at low levels in nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Foods Most Contaminated with Aflatoxin
The mold that produces aflatoxin may be found in the following foods:
- Peanut products
- Wheat and other grains
- Oil seeds such as cottonseed
- Tree nuts
Reducing Toxins in Your Diet
Limit your exposure to aflatoxin and help protect against its effects by:
- Buy reputable brands.
- Never eat moldy or shriveled nuts or peanuts.
- Avoid bulk bin items – these often contain mold spores which continue to grow during storage.
- If you do choose to eat peanuts, always choose Valencia peanuts. They’re grown in an arid climate where aflatoxin is not a concern.
- Opt for a Paleo diet which eliminates the most common sources of aflatoxin including grains, legumes, and oil seed products.
- Choose grass-fed meats. Animals fed aflatoxin-containing feed (corn and grains, primarily) have levels of aflatoxin stored in their fatty tissues.
- Eating a healthy diet that provides powerful detoxifying foods that increase your body’s production of glutathione – your master antioxidant and detoxifier.