The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer and premature aging may be easier than you think. Incorporating certain natural foods into your diet, along with a few regular skin care practices, may be helpful in fighting damage caused by sun exposure.
Skin cancer has become the number one form of cancer here in America. Women ages 39 and younger have the highest risk of developing serious skin cancer, otherwise known as melanoma. Only breast cancer is as common among women in this age range.
High SPF Sunscreen Just A Start
We are already aware that wearing a high spf sunscreen before heading out is the best protection, as well as covering our sensitive scalp, ear, and facial areas with a big floppy hat or other covering. Tanning and using tanning beds to achieve a sun kissed look has fallen out of fashion in recent years as awareness of these practices’ damaging effects has grown.
We’ve gotten a lot better at protecting our skin in these ways, but what many of us may not know is that diet can have a big effect on protecting our skin too.
How Does Diet Affect Skin Cancer Risk?
New research on how diet affects the risk of getting skin cancer started out with studies on Mediterranean people, who are well known for spending time outdoors. Despite their sun soaked lifestyle, Mediterranean people have a much lower risk of getting melanoma than Americans.
Scientists believe it may have something to do with their diets and how different they are from the typical American diet. A Mediterranean diet is mostly plant based, with fruits and vegetables taking center stage along with lots of fresh fish, olive oil, nuts, and fresh herbs. Researcher’s are focused on the antioxidants found in these foods as the main culprit in the lowered risk of skin cancer.
Here are 5 ways to incorporate skin cancer fighting ingredients into your diet.
1. Flavor your food with herbs.
Fresh herbs pack a punch when added to soups, salads, meats, and so much more. Not only will your meals taste better, but you’ll also benefit from the fortifying effects fresh herbs have on your skin.
Herbs are packed with antioxidants – some herbs have more in one tablespoonful than in one piece of fruit. Sage, rosemary, parsley and basil have the highest amounts. Use a single type of fresh herb every day or combine them for maximum results.
2. Sip on tea.
Both iced and hot teas can help fight the cellular skin damage caused by sun exposure. Green and black teas contain antioxidants that literally prevent the proteins that cause skin cancer from developing. Drinking just one cup of tea a day can have an effect. Drinking two or more cups of tea a day reduces the risk of cancer by 35 percent.
3. Drink wine.
The benefits of drinking red wine daily have been known to us for years. Drinking just one glass of red, white or sparkling wine each day can reduce the risk of cancer by 27 percent. Antioxidants found in these wines inhibit the growth of cancer cells and protect tumors from becoming cancerous.
4. Stock up on fruits and vegetables.
Incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet brings all the skin benefits of antioxidants as well as contributing to general good health. A good rule of thumb is to eat a rainbow of produce, including carrots, squash, spinach, kale, tomatoes, watermelon, apricots, and many others.
5. Nuts and fish are important too.
These foods contain vitamins and antioxidants that are also important for skin health and general health as well. Selenium, vitamin C and vitamin A are good nutrients to add to your roster of skin cancer fighting foods.