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Fighting Skin Cancer With Food

MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Preventing skin cancer is vitally important especially for those who live in sunny South Florida. We already know skin cancer and premature skin aging from the sun are preventable with sunscreen but you can also prevent it by eating the right foods.

As the heat intensifies this summer, more than ever we need to be vigilant about taking care of our skin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. There's no substitute for sunscreen and protective clothing but there are ways to leverage your diet to help repair and rejuvenate your skin.

"One of the first things that I think about is to make sure we are well-hydrated," said Larisa Alonso, a nutritionist with Canyon Ranch on Miami Beach. "Being well-hydrated means our circulation is enhanced, and by enhancing our circulation we can get essential nutrients to the cells so they can protect themselves."

Alonso says you should consume half your body weight in water ounces a day.

"If you weigh 120 pounds, 60 ounces of water a day is kind of what you want to aim for," according to Alonso.

She also suggests coconut water because of its high electrolyte content and antioxidants are very important as well.

"One of the most important ones is Vitamin C which we cannot manufacture. We have to get from foods so the foods that are high in Vitamin C are things like strawberries, the citrus of course, citrus fruits, tomatoes, kiwi, and dark leafy greens."

Minerals like copper and zinc are important for collagen formation which keeps skin plump and wrinkle free.

"So zinc we get from foods like poultry, oats we also get it from beans, nuts, and seeds and then copper we get from chocolate," said Alonso.

One more key ingredient to healthy skin is healthy fats.

"Good healthy fats from avocados, from healthy nuts like walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, olive oil; and then from good fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, trout, herrings, sardines, and anchovies."

Studies show 90-percent of the visible changes in our skin as we age are due to sun exposure so optimizing the way our body functions can help protect it from damaging rays.

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