According to Cancer Research UK, the rate of skin cancer incidence in the UK is projected to go up by 7% between 2014 and 2035.
In 2015, there were 15,906 recorded cases of melanoma skin cancer, representing around 4% of total cancer cases in the UK.
UV Rays, Skin Damage and Cancer
UV damage remains as the main cause of skin cancer and premature ageing including wrinkles, sagging skin and hyperpigmentation. Exposure to UV rays trigger the formation of free radicals in the body. These free radicals cause cellular damage including DNA damage which may lead to the formation of cancer.
Using a sunscreen to protect your skin against UV damage has been one of the most effective preventative actions against skin cancer. Numerous studies also showed that eating certain type of foods can reduce the cancer risk including skin cancer.
Antioxidant Foods Help Reduce The Cancer Risk
Foods that are rich in antioxidants are shown to be beneficial in preventing the development of cancer. Antioxidant has the ability to neutralise free radicals, molecules that cause damages to body cells including DNA damage.
Sweet potatoes are rich in Beta-Carotene. Also known as pro-vitamin A, beta-carotene is an antioxidant that together with other phytochemicals in sweet potatoes help neutralise free radicals.
Known as the sources of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent free radicals to damage body cells and DNA. To help protect skin from free radicals, oxidative stress and environmental pollution; use skincare products that contain superantioxidants such as Resveratrol. Studies indicated that Resveratrol has greater antioxidant properties than vitamin C, A and E. It is one of the superantioxidants in award-winning Henry Tianus Bio-Collagen Serum.
Fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna and Mackerel are rich in vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Studies showed that both vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids help prevent skin cancer.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, one of the popular antioxidants. Eating sunflower seeds regularly helps reduce free radical damage in your body and strengthens skin barrier.
Turmeric contains Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that gives the root an amazing orange colour. According to University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Curcumin helps lower the risk for cancer. Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in multi-award-winning Henry Tianus Antioxidant Youthful Essence.
Several studies suggested that eating tomatoes may help lower the risk for skin cancer. This is likely due to Lycopene, the antioxidant found in tomatoes.
Polyphenols are phytochemicals found in some foods such as dark chocolate, rose flower, cocoa powder, shea butter, clove, star anise, blue blue chamomile, green tea, fruits and vegetables. Some studies revealed that polyphenols have anticarcinogenic properties that help reduce the cancer risk.
A very popular vegetable in cooking, garlic is known to possess anti-carcinogenic properties that help lower the risk for various cancers. For the optimum health benefits, it is best to eat it fresh and raw.
A recent study at The University of Texas at Arlington suggested that zinc can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Therefore eating shellfish, the best source of zinc, may help prevent skin cancer. If you are a vegan, you can get zinc from various legumes, seeds and nuts.
Does Taking Antioxidant Supplements Help Reduce Cancer Risk?
Several studies suggested that taking antioxidant supplements doesn't really help lower the risk of developing cancer. Isolated antioxidants found in various supplements don't seem to be as effective as the antioxidants in the whole foods in lowering the cancer risk.
Why Eating Whole Foods is Better than Taking Supplements?
Whole foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables contain many other phytochemicals, in addition to the antioxidant contents. These phytochemicals and antioxidants seem to be working synergistically in neutralising free radicals.
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Sources: Cancer Research UK, www.cancerresearchuk.org; Diet and Dermatology, The Role of Dietary Intervention in Skin Disease, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2014 July, 7(7): 46–51; The alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene lung cancer prevention study: Design, methods, participant characteristics, and compliance, Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 4, Issue 1, January 1994, Pages 1-10; Polyphenols: skin photoprotection and inhibition of photocarcinogenesis, Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 011 Dec, 11(14): 1200-15; Zinc can halt the growth of cancer cells, study says, Science Daily, September 28, 2017.