Skin

5 Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer Naturally

Half a cup of spaghetti sauce could slash your risk.

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The number of folks with skin cancer has been creeping up every year — and the American Academy of Dermatology reports that at least one in five of us is now at risk. To ensure UV rays don’t put you at risk, try some of these prevention strategies.

Take vitamin E.

As many as 50 percent of the sun’s damaging rays reach you through closed windows in your car, your home and your office, reveal Skin Cancer Foundation pros. Supplementing with tocotrienols — a form of
vitamin E — activates your skin’s defenses against those rays.

And the vitamin accumulates in the cell membranes of your skin, helping you enjoy the sun with less risk. Tocotrienol concentrations vary, so follow package directions for dosage.

Eat tomatoes.

Eating one medium tomato, 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, or salsa or eight ounces of tomato juice daily is proven to provide long-term protection against UV-radiation. Lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, also acts as a natural sunscreen, shielding you from the inside out to lower your sun sensitivity and skin-cancer risk — and to reduce skin aging as much as 32 percent.

Don’t like tomatoes? Eat another lycopene-rich food — watermelon — instead.

Try zinc.

Getting a steady trickle of zinc in your daily diet can cut your odds of skin cancer as much as 46 percent — and beef and lamb are two of the best food sources of that essential nutrient. “Sunlight striking your skin can trigger the formation of cell-damaging waste products,” dermatologist Chi N. Rosenberg, M.D., explains.

“Zinc strengthens skin cells, protecting them from this attack.” Just 3 oz. of beef daily can do the trick. Vegetarian? Eat 1/2 cup of zinc-rich pumpkin
seeds, lentils, chickpeas, or cashews instead.

Know the sunscreen rules.

You may know that when outdoors, it’s best to reapply sunscreen every two hours because its active ingredients break down in direct sunlight. “What that also means is if you liberally apply sunscreen in the morning and are indoors, say, at work, most of the day, your protection should last — no need to reapply it,” says dermatologist Sandy Skotnicki, M.D., medical director
of Toronto’s Bay Dermatology Centre. “On the other hand, if you’re swimming or exercising or out and about on a windy day, you need
to reapply it hourly. Water, perspiration, and wind all wear away sunscreen faster.”

Drink coffee or tea.

Love coffee and/or tea? Indulging every day can offer significant protection against skin cancer, reveals research involving almost 450,000 people in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. And the more you drink, the more
it lowers your risk — as much as 30 percent if you fit in five cups a day. Both brews pack lots of polyphenols — antioxidants that speed healing of sun-kissed skin, plus rev your immune system’s ability to destroy cancerous cells.

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