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Healthy Skin: Fight Melanoma with Fruits and Vegetables?

Everyone wants healthy skin. Yet despite the fact that we’re slathering on sunscreen and limiting our time outdoors in the summer months, skin cancer is still a major threat. In fact, it’s the most common type of cancer. New research reveals a naturally occurring compound in fruits and vegetables may one day be an effective treatment for melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer.[1]

In a study published last spring in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, gossypin, a substance found in fruits and vegetables, was found to block two of the most common mutations that contribute to melanoma growth.[2] Researchers are excited about this finding because gossypin may help treat melanoma, which kills almost 9,000 people a year in the United States.[3]

Healthy skin is made up of healthy skin cells, which contain healthy DNA. Skin cancer occurs when the skin is exposed to ultra violet exposure through sunlight or tanning beds. The UV radiation causes mutations (or accidental changes) in DNA, which is harmful because DNA carries the genetic “recipe” to make new cells. When DNA replicates, those mutations replicate, too, spreading the damage.

One of the reasons melanoma is such a serious form of skin cancer is that it spreads to other parts of the body more easily than basal or squamous cell skin cancers. In fact, melanoma represents less than 5 percent of skin cancer cases, but more than three quarters of skin cancer deaths.[4],[5]

You don’t have to have melanoma to benefit from gossypin, though. A review of 200 studies found that people who ate the fewest fruits and vegetables had twice the risk of developing cancer as those who ate more.[6] So it makes sense that upping your fruit and vegetable consumption could help prevent melanoma in the first place, supporting healthy skin.

The best way to make sure half your plate is filled with fruits and veggies at each meal is to have them growing right outside your door. There are plenty of ways to keep fruits and vegetables at the center of your diet. You can buy them at the store, grow them in your garden, or utilize an even easier at-home system with Tower Garden®.

If you haven’t already heard, Tower Garden® is a state-of-the-art, vertical, aeroponic growing system that’s perfect for rooftops, patios or balconies — just about any relatively sunny spot outdoors. It’s easier than traditional gardening because there’s no soil, no weeds, and no ground pests to threaten your crops. You can grow almost anything you like in a Tower Garden®, including tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, spinach, beans, cucumbers, melons, herbs, and more. It’s a convenient, fun way to ensure you always have healthful produce on hand to nourish and protect your family. And it could even save your skin!

Have you gotten a Tower Garden® yet? What do you think of it?


[1] http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Fruit-and-veg-compound-may-have-skin-cancer-benefit

[2] Bhaskaran S et al. Gossypin as a novel selective dual inhibitor of V-RAF murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 4 for melanoma. Mol Cancer Ther. 2013 Apr;12(4):361-72.

[3] Skin Cancer Facts. American Cancer Society. 25 Mar 2013. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skin-cancer-facts

[4] Skin Cancer Facts. Skin Cancer Foundation. 12 Feb 2013. http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

[5] Skin Cancer Facts. American Cancer Society. 25 Mar 2013. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skin-cancer-facts

[6] Block G, Patterson B, Subar A. Fruit , vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr Cancer. 1992;18(1):1-29.

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