Did You Know That Consuming These Foods and Drinks May Affect Your Risk of Developing Skin Cancer?
Whilst the connection between sun exposure and skin cancer is widely known, few of us realise that the things we put into our body can also increase or decrease our risk of developing this disease. In addition to developing daily sun smart habits such as applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing we should also be mindful that our diets may also be a contributing factor as to whether or not we develop skin cancer.
We know, we don’t want to believe it either, but researchers have discovered that just one alcoholic drink per day can increases your risk of basal cell carcinoma by 11%. Furthermore, just one glass of wine a day increases your risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest skin cancer. It’s believed that this is because the ethanol in the alcohol can metabolise into acetaldehyde, a compound that can damage DNA.
Good news for the coffee drinkers! Several studies have linked daily consumption with lower rates of non-melanoma skin cancer. According to a study in the Journal of Cancer Prevention 2007 the more coffee a woman drinks the more her skin cancer risk falls. The reason? Authors of the study say that caffeine may block the kind of DNA synthesis and cell division that leads to skin cancer development. Another study published in 2016 in PLOS One also found that coffee may protect against melanoma.
Not only does salmon contain omega-3 which is very important for strengthening skin, it also contains a potent antioxidant called astaxanthin. Researchers found that ‘antaxanthin exhibited a pronounced photoprotective effect and counteracted all of the measured UVA-induced alterations to a significant effect.’
A study by the Ohio State University in 2007 found that daily tomato consumption may protect against skin cancer, possibly due to the lycopene they contain – a powerful antioxidant. Another study investigated the results of a daily (40g) serving of tomato paste over a 12 week period. Compared to the control group, the participants who ingested the tomato paste daily enjoyed a 33% elevation in sun protection.
Unfortunately, when it comes to health benefits, not all chocolate is made equal so steer clear of products that have lots of unhealthy ingredients added and head instead for the dark stuff, with at least 70% cocoa. A 2006 German study showed that long-term ingestion of dark chocolate containing high flavonoids can protect the skin against sun damage.
Whilst it is important to eat a diet rich in healthy fats and antioxidants to help protect your skin from sun damage, it should be used in conjunction with and not as an alternative to, wearing sun safe clothing, applying sunscreen and regular professional skin checks.
“It’s really important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you so that you notice any changes,” explains Jodie Maxted the owner of Skin Laser and Veins in Adelaide. “Develop a regular habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles.”
“Skin cancers rarely hurt and are much more frequently seen than felt. The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death.”
“Skin check consultations are really very simple and quick, so they can be done during your lunch hour, and involve the Doctor checking your skin thoroughly with a dermatascope. Any lesions, spots or pigmentation are documented and photos are taken – this allows the Doctor to easily observe any changes. In cases when the Doctor finds something of concern a biopsy may be taken and sent for pathology.”
“The benefit of being able to have a Doctor perform a skin check at one of our Skin Laser and Vein Clinics is twofold. Many of us are more willing to make the time for the occasional beauty treatment but struggle to prioritise the time between family commitments for other important health checks. We offer skin checks for our customers convenience and as part of a holistic approach to skin care. Caring for your skin and taking control of your ageing process is what we specialise in. Beautiful healthy, clear and vibrant skin is youthful. With our knowledge and modalities available to us we work together to get best outcomes and help people to look their best.
262 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, South Australia, 5006 Telephone: (08) 8267 2800
Shop 7, 217 Unley Road, Malvern, South Australia, 5061 Telephone: (08) 8490 3915