Fruits and vegetables have a reputation of being good for your health. They’re considered good snacks that clean your body, prevent you from developing various medical conditions, and are always recommended by doctors and nutritionist to patients looking for advice
But a new study has revealed that regular consumption of citrus fruits, grapefruits and orange juice in particular, may actually aid in the development of one such medical condition – melanoma, also known as the deadliest form of skin cancer – or the very least increase its chances of developing.
The researchers who worked on the study, published earlier this week, on Monday (June 29, 2015), in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, are quick to question their own findings, with Dr. Walter Willett from Harvard’s School of Public Health saying that people should start to avoid citrus fruits just yet as a powerful link between them and skin cancer is still not established.
However Dr. Abrar Qureshi, dermatologist over at Rhode Island Hospital (Providence) and chair of dermatology over at Brown University, stresses that there are certain compounds found in citrus fruits, furocoumarins and psoralen, which seem to suggest that the presence of a connection between them and melanoma exists.
Said compounds are called “photoactive” chemicals and are known for making the skin more sensitive to sunrays. Experts state that when they interact with ultraviolet light, they make melanoma cells multiply. Before 1996, psoralen was even used in suntan lotion in order to enable tanning.
Dr. Qureshi insists that the evidence is out there. The researcher mentioned that when a child eats a citrus popsicle and the icy snack drips down on their chin, the child will get a sunburn on that spot.
For their study, the researchers looked at more than 100.000 adults living in the United States, 40.000+ men and 60.000+ women. The subjects were followed for no less than 25 years, during which they had to answer question related to their diets, habits and many other personal matters that helped the experts gather data on health issues.
The results showed that the subjects who regularly consume grapefruits and orange juice do in fact have a better chance of developing melanoma than the subjects who avoided such foods, those who regularly indulged in orange juice had 25 percent (25%) more of a chance of developing melanoma and those who regularly indulged in whole grapefruit had 41 percent (41%) more of a chance of developing melanoma.
Curiously enough, the link disappeared when the researches looked at people who regularly indulged in grapefruit juice or whole oranges.
Having said that, Dr. Qureshi explains that “The citrus can’t hurt you without the excessive sun exposure”.
He advices people not to cut down on their citrus consumption, but to stay in the shade, use a good sunblock, and wear a hat. It is also important to note that the researches tested other fruits and vegetables as well, and none of the others were proven to have any kind of a link to skin cancer.
Dr. Willett on the hand does see things a little differently, admitting that just because an eatable good is considered natural, this does not automatically mean it is without any toxic substances.
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