A diet low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables can prevent skin cancer. Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day recommended by several health bodies but followed by only a small minority of the population is enough to scavenge up the free radicals released in the body by sunlight.

The ideal diet to prevent the cancer includes taking in less than 20 per cent of calories from fat, having five servings of fruits and vegetables, taking the equivalent of 25,000 IUs of beta carotene, the equivalent of one and a half carrots, 400 IU vitamin E, 100 ug selenium from food, and 500 mg vitamin C from food.

The diet, suggested by Harvey Arbesman from Buffalo University to delegates at the American Academy of Dermatology, may also prevent the development of precancers, known as actinic keratoses, and of nonmelanoma skin cancers.

He stressed the importance of a low fat diet. In one study, patients who followed this part of the diet alone had fewer new skin cancers detected after eight months and two years (JAMA, 1998; 279: 1427-98).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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