Are you doing all that you can to protect your skin? Sunscreen is vital for skin cancer prevention, but so too are the foods you eat and the nutrients you take. Here are 5 things you can do nutritionally to protect your skin.
1 The Mediterranean Diet
Research points to the Mediterranean diet as possibly the best diet for healthy skin and the prevention of skin cancer. This includes:
- An abundance of fruit, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds;
- A focus on fresh and locally grown foods;
- Very few sweets;
- Low-to-moderate consumption of dairy;
- High intake of fish;
- Moderate (about one to four times weekly) intake of poultry and eggs;
- Small amounts of red meat;
- Olive oil as the principal source of fat;
- Low-to-moderate intake of wine.
2 Olives & Fish
Population-based studies show that a higher intake of olives is associated with fewer wrinkles. The polyphenols from olives have also been shown to increase antioxidant defenses within the skin against sun damage.
Researchers in Italy found a protective effect from weekly consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (50 percent reduced skin cancer risk) and high consumption of vegetables (also a 50 percent reduced risk). Other studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acid intake is inversely related to melanoma.
3 Green Tea
Studies also indicate that green tea is protective against skin cancer. The beneficial compounds are the polyphenols, similar to those found in olives.
Try: Pukka Organic Supreme Matcha Green Tea.
A report presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that people who took niacinamide supplements reduced their risk of developing skin cancer by 23 percent.
Try: Solgar Niacin 100 mg.
5 Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D3 are linked to an increased risk for skin cancer. Taking the supplement daily can help provide optimal D3 levels. Your optimum dosage is based upon your exposure to sunlight on a large portion of your skin.
Try: Bluebonnet Chewable Vitamin D3.
Calming Remedies for Burns
The assault of the elements on hot summer days-from sun, wind, chlorine, and salt water-can take a toll on your skin. Keep these remedies on hand for sweet relief.
Aloe vera gel is a tried and tested remedy for sunburn, itching from insect bites, and rashes from poison ivy. A South African study found that aloe even reduced the production of melanin, the pigment in age spots. Gently washing irritated skin with chamomile tea, brewed and then cooled, is another soothing treatment. Apple cider vinegar can be applied topically, using a cotton swab, to help relieve sunburn pain. Certain herbs such as dong-quai are helpful at easing pain from sunburn and minor burns. You can find herbal skin creams at your local health food store.
Try: Solstice Medicine Company Ching Wan Hung Soothing Herbal Balm for Burns.