Edible SPF: 5 Foods To Add To Your Diet To Prevent Skin Cancer
Can some foods really reduce our skin cancer risk? The answer, according to a large study, is yes.
In Singapore, there is a common misconception that skin cancer only affects Caucasians. However, statistics tell a different story.
Skin cancer is now ranked as the 6th and 7th most common cancer among Singaporean males and females respectively, signaling a worrisome rise in its prevalence.
Protecting our skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation is crucial in reducing the risk of skin cancer. While sunscreen is essential, there is another way to add an extra layer of sun protection - through the foods we eat.
Yes, you read that right! Certain foods contain compounds that act as natural sunscreens, providing edible SPF to safeguard our skin from within.
Keep scrolling for five foods that lower your skin cancer risk.
Are You at Risk of Developing Skin Cancer?
The common types of skin cancer are suamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The more skin cancer progresses, the deeper it gets into your skin. Source: Solar 22 / Getty Images
Factors that may increase your risk of developing skin cancer include:
Spending too much time in the sun or tanning beds
Having light skin, eyes, and hair
History of getting sunburns
Rare genetic problems such as xeroderma pigmentosum, which causes sensitivity to sunlight
Having a weak immune system
For melanoma, other big risks aside from UV exposure include:
A history of thyroid or breast cancer
Family history of melanoma
Having more than 50 moles
The Link Between Skin Cancer Risk and Nutrition
While exposure to UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources remains the primary cause of skin cancer, dietary factors can also influence our susceptibility to the disease.
Including a variety of skin-friendly nutrients in your diet can enhance your skin's resilience and contribute to a lower risk of skin cancer:
Antioxidants: Foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, and various phytochemicals, can counteract the harmful effects of free radicals and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Carotenoids: Carotenoids are pigments found in colorful fruits and vegetables, including beta-carotene, lycopene. Colorless varieties also exist, such as phytoene and phytofluene found in white tomatoes.
L-Cysteine: Present in protein-rich foods like poultry, eggs, and legumes, L-Cysteine promotes the production of glutathione that neutralizes free radicals and reduces the risk of skin cancer.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Found in fatty fish, organ meats, and whole grains, CoQ10 supports skin health by acting as a free-radical scavenger and protecting against UV-induced skin damage.
Vitamin C: Abundant in citrus fruits, guava, bell peppers, and broccoli, vitamin C supports collagen synthesis, repairs sun-damaged skin, and directly combats oxidative stress caused by UV radiation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, provide omega-3 fatty acids, which not only inhibit the growth of skin cancer cells but also maintain the skin's moisture barrier.
Polyphenols: Green tea, fruits, and vegetables contain polyphenols that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds combat free radicals, reducing UV-induced skin damage.
Vitamin D: While sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D, including foods like fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and mushrooms in your diet can potentially reduce skin cancer risk.
5 Foods That Offer Natural Sun Protection
1. White Tomatoes
White tomatoes are a unique variant of the classic red tomatoes, distinguished by their ivory hue. They owe their color to the presence of high levels of phytoene and phytofluene, two powerful carotenoids that act as potent antioxidants.
These compounds are known to neutralize free radicals generated by UV radiation, preventing DNA damage and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Additionally, white tomatoes help inhibit the production of melanin, reducing the formation of age spots.
Including white tomatoes in your diet, such as in salads or sandwiches, can significantly contribute to your skin's health. Alternatively, you may also opt for supplements which offer better bioavailability and absorption of phytoene and phytofluene.
Recommendation of The Week: Snow Tomato Glowjuice
The Snow Tomato Glowjuice by The Purest Co. is our top recommendation for skin cancer prevention due to its unique and clinically-proven formulation that offers multiple benefits for skin health and protection from sun damage.
Why it works for skin cancer prevention:
✅ PhytoflORAL® White Tomato Extract
The Snow Tomato Glowjuice contains 500mg of PhytoflORAL® White Tomato Extract, derived from specially selected, non-GMO tomato species. This extract is rich in colorless carotenoids such as phytoene, phytofluene, and carotene, which have powerful antioxidant properties. Prolonged and consistent consumption of these carotenoids helps deposit them into the human skin, providing photoprotective properties.
✅ Outstanding Photo-protection
PhytoflORAL® White Tomato Extract confers outstanding photo-protection capacity built into the skin from within. It helps shield the skin against UV damage and free radicals, two major factors contributing to skin cancer development.
✅ Inhibition of Melanin Synthesis
The extract not only protects against UV-induced DNA damage but also inhibits melanin synthesis. By reducing melanin production, it helps in lightening and evening the skin tone, which can be beneficial for those with age spots or undesired pigmentation.
The Snow Tomato Glowjuice is enriched with L-Cysteine, an amino acid that boosts the production of Glutathione. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that converts brown pigment (eumelanin) to reddish-yellow pigment (pheomelanin), making the skin brighter. This supports overall skin health and protection from UV-induced damage.
✅ Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is known to protect the skin from sun damage and contribute to even skin tone. It also helps smooth and firm the skin while minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
✅ Acerola Extract (25% Vitamin C)
Acerola cherries are rich in Vitamin C, which promotes the absorption of L-Cysteine and has a positive correlation with Glutathione production. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that directly combats oxidative stress caused by UV radiation, thus supporting the overall health of the skin.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy skin, as it promotes cell turnover and repair, helping to prevent premature aging caused by sun exposure.
Furthermore, beta-carotene acts as a natural sunblock, providing an added layer of protection against harmful UV rays.
Consuming sweet potatoes regularly can enhance your skin's elasticity, reduce the risk of sunburn, and contribute to a radiant complexion.
3. Green Tea:
Green tea is renowned for its numerous health benefits, and when it comes to skin protection, it doesn't disappoint. The tea is abundant in polyphenols, particularly catechins, which possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
These antioxidants scavenge free radicals, preventing skin cell damage caused by UV radiation and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
Additionally, green tea can help soothe sunburned skin and protect against the development of certain types of skin tumors. Swap your regular beverages for a refreshing cup of green tea to promote overall skin health.
4. Fatty Fish:
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats play a crucial role in maintaining skin health by reducing inflammation and enhancing the skin's natural defenses against UV damage.
Omega-3s also help preserve the skin's lipid barrier, improving moisture retention and protecting against sun-induced dryness and sensitivity.
Incorporating fatty fish into your diet twice a week can bolster your skin's resilience to harmful UV rays and contribute to a supple, glowing complexion.
5. Red Bell Peppers:
Red bell peppers are packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient for collagen synthesis. Collagen is a structural protein that keeps the skin firm and supple.
Regular consumption of vitamin C-rich foods like red bell peppers can help repair sun-damaged skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and promote a more youthful complexion.
Moreover, vitamin C is an antioxidant that scavenges free radicals, defending the skin against UV-induced oxidative stress and minimizing the risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is on the rise and the damaging effects of UV radiation are undeniable.
While traditional sunscreens remain essential, the incorporation of skin-nourishing foods can be an effective complementary strategy.
A compelling example is the unique PhytoflORAL® White Tomato Extract found in products like The Purest Co. Snow Tomato Glowjuice. This formulation, enriched with colorless carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene, has shown significant promise in providing photoprotection, inhibiting melanin synthesis, and combating oxidative stress, making it a valuable addition to skin cancer prevention strategies.
While no single food can guarantee complete protection from skin cancer, a holistic approach to nutrition that includes foods like white tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green tea, fatty fish, and red bell peppers can collectively contribute to fortifying the skin's natural defenses. Incorporating these foods into our diets not only promotes skin health and a more youthful complexion but also offers a tangible means of reducing the risk of skin cancer in conjunction with other protective measures.