Mediterranean diet linked to lower skin cancer risk, study suggests

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A new study by scientists at the University of Paris-Saclay suggests that following the Mediterranean diet could reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

The Mediterranean diet, based on traditional foods from Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries, promotes plant-based food consumption, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices, while limiting red meat, processed foods, and added sugars.

This diet has previously been associated with various health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancers.

The Study: Diet and Skin Cancer

The research involved data from approximately 100,000 French women aged 40-65.

Researchers collected information on the participants’ dietary habits in 1993 through a validated food questionnaire, assessing their adherence to the Mediterranean diet through a dietary score.

The researchers observed that following the Mediterranean diet was linked with a lower overall risk of skin cancer.

Specifically, women who adhered to this diet had lower risks of developing melanoma and basal cell carcinomas, two common types of skin cancer.

However, the diet did not significantly affect the risk of squamous cell carcinomas.

Given the high prevalence of skin cancer, which is often caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, these findings are noteworthy.

While protective measures like sunscreen are crucial for reducing skin cancer risk, the study suggests that diet may also play a vital role.

It’s important to note that this study only focused on a specific population of women in France. Therefore, more research is needed to validate these findings and to examine their applicability to broader populations.

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

Preventing skin cancer involves not only following a balanced diet but also protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation. Here are some recommendations:

Stay in the shade, especially during peak sun hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Wear protective clothing, such as lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, reapplying every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating

Avoid tanning beds, which emit harmful UV radiation

Regularly check your skin for any changes in moles, freckles, or other marks

Discuss skin cancer screening frequency with your doctor if you have a history of skin cancer or other risk factors

This study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adds to the growing body of evidence supporting the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, including potentially reducing the risk of skin cancer.

The research is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

If you care about skin health, please read studies about eating fish linked to a higher risk of skin cancer, and Vitamin B3 could help prevent skin cancers.

If you care about skin cancer, please read studies that a low-carb diet could increase overall cancer risk, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

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