By now we all want to avoid cancer. It is no secret to say that it is one of the deadly diseases that claims the most lives in the world and therefore prevention is more important than ever. Today we have to talk about a type of cancer that is quite common and that unfortunately usually goes a little unnoticed: skin cancer. Although in a certain way we are familiar with the typical prevention actions, such as visiting the dermatologist twice a year, using broad spectrum sunscreen daily, protecting ourselves with hats and glasses. Little has been said about how diet and certain nutrients can play a key role in its prevention and control.
What is the outlook? Nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC), including basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma (BCC and SCC), are the most common cancers in the United States. The following information is available: 5.4 million cases of different types of skin cancer are treated each year, which has drawn the attention of specialists who are looking for new prevention strategies. Fortunately, recent research shows that certain dietary changes can be one way to lower those numbers.
Based on the above, of course the million dollar question is What foods are a good ally in the prevention of skin cancer? According to the latest studies, it has been shown that substances called antioxidants, including vitamins and other nutrients, are a great ally to combat the effect of free radicals and prevent the damage they cause, which is often a common cause of skin cancer. One of the references that caused the most controversy a few years ago, is a study published in 2002 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, in which it was found that exposure to UV rays is a process that usually deplete antioxidants in the body. Therefore, it makes sense that replacing these protective substances can strengthen the defenses and protect the skin.
The truth is that after years of debate about whether antioxidants could make a difference in the development of skin cancer, today we know that the research tips the balance in your favor. In fact today, most dermatologists advise patients to indulge in foods rich in these nutrients. It is one more preventive measure, as important as sunscreen.
The recommendation of the experts is to bet on stocking up on beneficial nutrients for the skin, as far as possible through diet and the reason is that the interaction between the different nutrients in each food is what makes the strategy most effective. In such a way that the antioxidants most recommended by dermatologists to help prevent skin cancer: vitamins C, E and A, zinc, selenium, beta-carotenes (carotenoids), omega-3 fatty acids, lycopenes and polyphenols. Fortunately, these substances are usually found in a wide range of very nutritious whole foods that are also associated with a long list of health benefits. Take note!
1. Beta carotene
Beta-carotene is considered one of the most important nutrients for the skin, in large part because it is converted to vitamin A in the body. It has been proven that diets based on the consumption of fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene, can reduce the risk of some cancers, including skin cancers. In addition, the presence of beta carotenes increases the ability of the immune system to fight diseases. Bet on the consumption of orange fruits and vegetables: carrots, pumpkins, oranges, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and mangoes.
Nature is wonderful, so the same red lycopene pigment that protects tomatoes from sun damage, it also helps protect the skin from sun damage. According to a 2010 study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, which focused on tracking patients who ate tomato paste regularly and others who did not use it. He found that after 10 weeks those who used to consume lycopenes had a 40% less likely to suffer from sunburn. In fact, there are several reports in which the consumption of lycopenes has been linked to a better risk of suffering from certain cancers. You will find it in foods with red pigmentation, such as: tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, blood oranges and strawberries.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
It is no secret to say that omega-3 fatty acids are very important substances for the proper functioning of the body. What happens with these nutrients is that they inhibit COX-2, a chemical that promotes the progression of skin cancer. Also, several studies have shown that they are associated with a great anti-inflammatory potential, which particularly benefits skin cancer cases since it is closely related to chronic inflammation. Best of all, it is found in foods of plant and animal origin: fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and white tuna, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil and avocado.
Science has shown that drinking green or black tea is a great habit that can actively help prevent skin cancer. The truth is that the evidence in favor of green tea is stronger, it has been proven that green tea polyphenols are plant chemicals with powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and tumor inhibiting properties. In particular, it has been discovered that they are substances that have the power to repair DNA in skin exposed to UV rays, reducing cell damage. In fact, in laboratory work, green tea, whether consumed or applied directly to the skin, was shown to be of great help in preventing skin cancer caused by UV rays. by absorbing UV damage and scavenging free radicals. A recent study concluded that the polyphenols in tea can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer, especially when drunk four to six fresh cups a day.
Selenium also plays a pretty telling role. According to a recent review of 16 studies involving more than 144,000 people, it reported that those with the highest selenium intake have a 31% lower risk of cancer at any site and a wonderful 40% lower risk of death from cancer. Go for Brazil nuts and meats like grass-fed chicken and beef.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.