Monday, May 12, 2014

The Link Between Skin Cancer and What We Eat

Although skin cancer is largely preventable, it is still the most common cancer in the United States. In addition to protecting our exposed skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, researchers and experts recommend protecting our skin from a different angle—from the inside out.

Researchers are studying the links between specific foods and skin cancers and have begun to make strides in identifying foods that may help to prevent some cancers, including skin cancer.

Vitamin D and Vitamin C both appear to have a protective effect against skin cancer. While Vitamin D appears to be effective in the fight against existing cancer cells, Vitamin C is one of the best immune enhancements available, and can reduce an individual’s chance of developing cancer from the beginning.

In addition to these vitamins, a diet in plant-based foods and low in processed foods offers the best chance for overall good health. Eliminating flours and other highly processed foods can keep skin and other body systems healthy. It also keeps the body from being more susceptible to damage.

According to Jennifer Burton, a registered dietician with OhioHealth who works with patients at both the Bing Cancer Center and the McConnell Heart Health Center, “People who have a healthy diet will hold up better during treatment should they develop skin cancer. They will have a better environment in the body to begin with, and what they eat during and after treatment can have an impact on whether the cancer is going to spread or whether they will have a recurrence.”

Above all else, the best foods for skin cancer prevention are fruits and vegetables. Good fats like avocado, flaxseed and nuts can also help ward off disease. Carotenoids found in dark, leafy greens and fruits or vegetables that are red, yellow and orange appear to have a particularly strong impact on preventing skin cancer.

In addition to eating whole, clean food, it is also beneficial to keep protecting your skin from the outside elements. Before you step outside this summer, be sure to apply sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and schedule your annual skin cancer screening with Greenville Dermatology by calling (864) 242-5872 today. 

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