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Too Much Citrus Can Cause Melanoma But You Should Not Worry: Here's Why

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People who drink a glass of fresh orange juice every morning may want to choose another beverage as a new study suggests that consuming citrus fruits and drinks can potentially increase the risk of developing melanoma.

In a study featured in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, dermatologist Dr. Abrar Qureshi of Brown University and his team of researchers studied the records of more than 100,000 adult Americans participating in the 25-year Nurses' Health Study.

They discovered that out of the total number of participants, less than two percent of them developed melanoma during the course of 25 years.

While this result shows a low risk for the skin condition overall, it is still 36 percent higher especially among people who drank or ate at least six-ounce servings of citrus juice or fruit almost twice a day compared to those who only consumed them less than two times a week.

The researchers noted that people who ate the most grapefruit or drank the most orange juice showed a high risk for melanoma, but this was not seen on those who drank grapefruit juice or ate whole oranges. This was despite the fact that grapefruits contain more furocoumarins and psoralens compared to grapefruit juice.

As for the link to orange juice consumption, the researchers believe this could simply be because many people prefer to drink orange juice.

The team also tested other fruits, vegetables and juices to determine their risk factor for melanoma, but no positive association with the skin condition was found in other products.

Dr. Walter Willett, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study, said that additional research is needed in order to explore their findings further.

He explained that foods that are considered natural are not always entirely beneficial to people as these products may still contain highly toxic substances.

Willett said that eating a varied diet would be more suitable for people, wherein they do not consume too little or too much of one type of food.

"Variety is a good thing to have because it means that you are not likely to miss out on something important and it also means you not likely to miss out on something that is good for you," Willet said.

Health Benefits of Juicing

Despite this new finding, health experts still urge people to consume a healthy amount of fruits every day even through juicing.

Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky said that juices labeled as "100 percent" can be healthy option as they are made from the pure extract of natural fruits and vegetables. These beverages have no additives and no preservatives, and their vitamin and mineral content are higher compared to sweetened juices or juice cocktails.

For optimal health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends consuming a minimum of one and a half cup to two cups of fruit each day for women and two cups of fruit for men. A single cup of fruit juice can be considered as one serving of fruit.

Juices can also be good source of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C, which is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women each day. Drinking three-quarters of a cup of orange juice daily can provide individuals with 93 milligrams of vitamin C, while consuming the same amount of grapefruit offers 70 milligrams.

Photo: Mike Mozart | Flickr

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