Pass the Orange Vegetables

Last updated: December 2017

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. You know the drill. Food, football, family, fun, it’s a time to celebrate. Lots to eat, to watch, there’s a parade in NYC. A year ago I changed my diet and began watching what I ate for the sake of weight loss and overall better health. I lost 70 pounds and have maintained my new svelteness. I am pretty happy with being disciplined in my eating habits. I understand what to avoid and what to enjoy. This got me to thinking.
What about eating and skin cancer? What do the studies say? Can I eat things that will help my overall risk?

Rethinking my supper

Here is what I found. According the University of Maryland Medical Center, several studies have shown that foods high in antioxidants MAY offer some protection from skin cancer.1 These studies indicate that "foods, such as fish, beans, carrots, chard, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli, and vegetables containing beta-carotene and foods containing Vitamin C" may also offer protection.1 The studies also suggest that substances found in soy and flaxseed may help in fighting all forms of cancer and are helpful in preventing the spread of melanoma.

Wine and nuts

Other substances found in plants found in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, apples, cherries, grapes and in red wine and tea may be helpful. Pistachios and peanuts may help protect from skin cancer as well. A variety of herbs listed in the article traditionally been used to protect skin although no studies are cited. According to the UMM site, these findings are not definitive, but rather indicative and that any change in diet or usage of supplements should only be done after consultation with a physician.

That big orange squash thing

I have a new favorite vegetable. It is called Butternut Squash. It is heavenly when prepared well. With just a slightly sweet taste, it’s heavenly. In its raw form, it looks like a club, a weapon. Most are heavy and oddly shaped, but after time in the oven, they are yummy! They are filled with Beta-Carotene (see above). So, while I am not a huge fan of carrots and pumpkin, I have a new orange friend and it may actually be helping my skin. Who knew?!

Holiday eating

The holiday buffets, dinner, parties, and binge eats are upon us. This is a great time to make healthy choices that keep the waistline trim and may protect us from skin cancer. I will certainly eat the things that I love and because my tastes have changed, I have no problem loading up on fruits and vegetables as well as the usual turkey and fixin’s. Skin protection is a year-long endeavor and is not just about SPF, sun exposure, and mole checking. Thoughtful eating habits can go a long way in lengthening lives and improving our quality of life on many levels.

I expect to see plenty of orange on my plate tomorrow, throughout the holiday season and the coming new year.

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