Scientists from the University of Milan found Mediterranean diet and DASH diet may lower skin cancer risk.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer. They are also called nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin occur most often in areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as the nose, ears, lower lip, or top of the hands.
The links between dietary habits and the risk of skin cancer basal cell carcinoma are unclear.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the association of several dietary patterns, including Mediterranean, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), and Pro-vegetarian dietary patterns with the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
It includes lots of plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat.
Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occasionally.
The DASH diet includes foods that are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. These nutrients help control blood pressure. The diet limits foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.
The Pro-vegetarian diet does not exclude meat and dairy products but reduces them. It is basically vegetarian, with meat and fish consumed occasionally.
The team examined 101 people who were free of skin cancer before the study but later reported a basal cell carcinoma diagnosis during the follow-up period.
They found a better adherence to the Mediterranean diet was linked to a 72% lower risk of basal cell carcinoma. The DASH diet was linked to a 68% lower risk of basal cell carcinoma.
Eating a Pro-vegetarian diet did not affect the risk of basal cell carcinoma.
The team also found eating more fruit and low-fat dairy food was associated with a lower risk of basal cell carcinoma.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that Mediterranean and DASH diets may be linked to a lower risk of basal cell carcinoma. Future work needs to confirm the findings.
The research was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Alessandro Leone et al.
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