Skin cancer is a serious and common health concern, with the potential to cause significant health problems if left untreated.
However, a new study conducted by scientists at the University of Paris-Saclay suggests that there may be a simple way to help reduce the risk of developing skin cancer: by following the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
It emphasizes plant-based foods like whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices, while limiting red meat, processed foods, and added sugars.
This way of eating has been linked to a range of health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers.
In the study, researchers looked at data from nearly 100,000 French women between the ages of 40 and 65.
They collected information on the women’s dietary habits via a validated food questionnaire in 1993 and assessed their adherence to the Mediterranean diet using a dietary score that incorporates intakes of fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereal products, olive oil, fish, dairy products, meat products, and alcohol.
Over the course of the study, the researchers found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was linked to a lower risk of skin cancer overall.
In particular, women who followed the Mediterranean diet were found to have a lower risk of developing melanoma and basal cell carcinomas, two of the most common types of skin cancer.
However, the diet was not found to have a significant impact on the risk of developing squamous cell carcinomas.
These findings are particularly noteworthy given the high prevalence of skin cancer, and the fact that many cases of the disease are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
While sunscreen and other protective measures are important for reducing the risk of skin cancer, this study suggests that dietary factors may also play a role.
Of course, it’s important to note that this study only looked at one population of women in one country, so more research is needed to confirm these findings and to see if they apply more broadly.
However, given the many other health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, it’s certainly worth considering as part of a broader strategy for reducing the risk of skin cancer and other health problems.
How to prevent skin cancer
Preventing skin cancer involves protecting your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer:
Stay in the shade: When possible, seek shade during the sun’s peak hours, typically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wear protective clothing: Cover up with clothing, such as a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Use sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed skin, including your face, neck, and ears. Reapply every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating.
Avoid tanning beds: Tanning beds emit UV radiation that can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.
Check your skin regularly: Examine your skin regularly to look for any changes in moles, freckles, or other marks. If you notice anything unusual or concerning, see a dermatologist.
Get screened: If you have a history of skin cancer or other risk factors, talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened for skin cancer.
By taking these steps, you can help protect your skin and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, to support overall health and well-being.
If you care about skin health, please read studies about eating fish linked to higher risk of skin cancer, and Vitamin B3 could help prevent skin cancers.
If you care about skin cancer, please read studies that low-carb diet could increase overall cancer risk, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.
The research is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Yahya Mahamat-Saleh et al.
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