Melanoma: These Foods May Help Prevent Recurrence

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A Healthy Diet May Prevent Melanoma Recurrence

If you are a melanoma survivor, you know that early detection and treatment are critical, since 99 percent of melanoma diagnoses have a 5-year survival rate if the cancer is detected early. In addition to taking precautions with sun exposure, you can decrease your risk of developing skin cancer or its recurrence through healthy eating. HealthCentral has compiled a list of the best foods to include in your diet to reduce your risk of this increasingly common disease.


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Leafy green vegetables

Leafy greens are rich in the antioxidant vitamin C, which may protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Load your plate with leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. Broccoli, bell peppers, and Brussels sprouts are also excellent sources of vitamin C.


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Red fruits and vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables are rich in lycopene, another antioxidant that may protect your skina gainst sun damage. Tomatoes, tomato sauce, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, blood oranges, and papaya are all good sources of lycopene.


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Fish and shellfish

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease chronic inflammation and protect against skin cancer progression. Shellfish are rich in zinc, which may help to replenish antioxidant levels in the body and restore the body’s immune function.


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Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are also good sources of omega 3s. In addition, they contain vitamin E, another antioxidant that can help prevent damage by free radicals. Snack on walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds, or stir milled flaxseed or wheat germ into your yogurt or fruit smoothie for an added nutritional boost of vitamin E.


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Orange fruits and vegetables

Orange produce is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body.  Regular consumption may decrease the risk for development of some cancers.  Carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe, and squash are rich in this nutrient. While research on the effect of beta carotene and melanoma is still inconclusive, there is some evidence to support the role of vitamin A in reducing the risk of developing melanoma.


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Legumes

Legumes are also rich in zinc, which may enhance your body’s immune system and restore antioxidant levels. Add beans such as chickpeas, black beans, and edamame to salads or soups. Try bean dips such as hummus with raw vegetables for a nutritious snack.


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Vitamin D fortified foods

Research shows that adequate vitamin D intake is associated with a decreased risk of melanoma, and that people who are vitamin D deficient have a poorer outcome when diagnosed with melanoma. Include vitamin D fortified foods in your diet such as milk, yogurt, cereal, and juice.  The [best dietary sources of vitamin D](https://www.healthcentral.com/article/top-heart-healthy vitamin-d-rich-foods) include fish such as sardines, salmon, and tuna, as well as egg yolks and liver.


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Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are also good sources of vitamin C, which may protect your body from cancer-causing free radicals. Snack on oranges or strawberries and add fresh lemon or lime to a glass of water for an added boost of vitamin C.


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Tea

The polyphenols found in black and green tea have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including cancer prevention. Research shows that green tea, specifically, can actually inhibit the growth of melanoma cells. Try adding a cup of green tea (hot or iced) to your daily routine.