Mediterranean Diet gives you Sun Protection

Thanks to a tip from ClinuvelNews, here is an article in ScienceDaily pointing us to some recent research that shows that a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can protect us from skin cancer. In countries like Australia and New Zealand that have high incidences of melanoma, this is some additional reason to follow a diet rich in these nutrients.

Some research also points to rosacea being related to oxidative stress, so rosacea sufferers everywhere are likely to benefit from good nutrition.

SPF on Your Plate: Researcher Connects the Mediterranean Diet With Skin Cancer Prevention

ScienceDaily (Aug. 16, 2010) — We all want that summer glow that comes from a day at the beach, but taking in the rays can have long-term implications for our health. Now Dr. Niva Shapira of Tel Aviv University’s School of Health Professions suggests a way to make fun in the sun safer — and it’s all in our food.

In a study recently published in Nutrition Reviews, Dr. Shapira has shown that a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, like the diet eaten in Mediterranean regions where melanoma rates are extremely low, can help protect us from skin cancer.

The sun’s rays damage both the skin and the immune system by penetrating the skin and causing photo-oxidation, she explains, affecting both the cells themselves and the body’s ability to repair any damage. Her prescription is to “go Greek” with foods such as olive oil, fish, yogurt and colorful fruits and vegetables to fight the oxidizing effect of the sun, as well as regular applications of sunscreen and appropriate body coverings such as hats, beach coverups, and other sportswear.

I’m heartened to see this paragraph as well as I think we can easily get sucked in to the `supplements are as good a real food’ idea all too easily.

It might be tempting to load up on dietary supplements instead of changing the diet, but according to Dr. Shapira, supplements are simply not as effective. Foods provide nutrient “synergy,” she says. “In foods, many vitamins and various antioxidants and bioactive ingredients work to support one another and the body’s natural protective mechanisms. Synergies between the nutrients in your food, which make a significant contribution to health, may contrast with the relative isolation of a vitamin supplement.”

A further extract from the referenced Abstract;

Nutritional approach to sun protection: a suggested complement to external strategies

Penetrating photo-oxidative ultraviolet A radiation reduces skin and blood antioxidants and damages cell components, including DNA. Dietary antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in addition to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, n-9 monounsaturated fatty acids, and low pro-inflammatory n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, have demonstrated protective properties. The presence of these elements in the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet may have contributed to the low rates of melanoma in the Mediterranean region despite high levels of solar radiation.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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