Skin Cancer and Nutrition

Skin Cancer and Nutrition

We all know the precautions that need to be taken to minimize exposure to damaging UV rays ; sunscreen, covering up with hats and sunglasses, or staying out of the sun entirely during peak times. But there is more that you can do to protect yourself.

What happens when the UV rays hit your skin and why does nutrition matter?

Ultra violet light from the sun damages skin cells.

Damaged cells release oxygen which is called a free radical

Free radicals are unstable and are looking for electrons from anywhere they can take them to stabilize themselves

Free radical damage to skin tissue can alter DNA(can change the instructions coded in a strand of DNA)

Altered DNA is the recipe for cancer to start growing

Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables provides the body with antioxidants. These molecules DONATE electrons to the free radicals and stabilize them so they don’t cause damage.

Free radicals are created constantly within the body as a byproduct of metabolism. However, other insults such as UV rays, pollution and stress also contribute to the creation of free radicals. The best way to get your antioxidants is by EATING a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day. You can learn more about how antioxidants protect the body here.

These are fun to make with kids and make a delicious lunch. Rice paper wrappers are available at Woodmans. Tamari is wheat free (therefore gluten free) soy sauce and is available at Millers and Woodmans. Natural peanut butter is made from just peanuts and must be stirred, If you use regular peanut butter with added sugar, skip adding the maple syrup. You can put anything you want in these-leftover rice, rice noodles, any veggie that is thinly sliced. Think color!

Spring Rolls

spring rolls
  • 1 beet (Chioggia), peeled

  • 1 medium radish (preferably watermelon), peeled

  • 8 rice paper wrappers

  • 1 firm ripe avocado, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups grated carrot

  • 2 cups finely chopped red cabbage

  • 8 large fresh basil leaves

  • 8 large fresh mint leaves

Peanut Sauce

  • ¼ cup smooth natural peanut butter

  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium Tamari or soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1½ teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1½ teaspoons pure maple syrup

  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic

  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)


To prepare spring rolls: Thinly slice beet and radish and cut each slice in half.

  1. Soak one wrapper at a time in a shallow dish of very hot water until softened, about 30 seconds. Lift out, let excess water drip off and lay on a clean, dry cutting board.

  2. Arrange 2 halved beet slices, facing in opposite directions, horizontally in the center of a wrapper. Place 2 avocado slices vertically next to the beets. Add 2 halved radish slices vertically, facing each one opposite the one next to it, next to the avocado. Top the beets with ¼ cup carrot. Top the avocado and radishes with ¼ cup cabbage. Place 1 basil leaf on the carrots and cabbage and 1 mint leaf directly below the basil. Fold the wrapper over the filling and roll into a tight cylinder, folding in the sides as you go. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Cut each finished roll in half.

  3. To prepare sauce: Whisk peanut butter, tamari (or soy sauce), water, rice vinegar, syrup, garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) in a small bowl until smooth.

  4. Serve the rolls with the dipping sauce.

  • People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

Serving size: 1 roll & about 1½ tsp. dipping sauce

  • Per serving: 155 calories; 8 g fat(1 g sat); 4 g fiber; 17 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 46 mcg folate; 0 cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 4,744 IU vitamin A; 11 mg vitamin C; 27 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 255 mg sodium; 286 mg potassium

  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (95% daily value)

  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1

  • Exchanges: 1½ fat, 1 vegetable, ½ starch

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