Surprising news about protecting skin from the sun’s UV rays implies that your diet may be as important as the SPF of your sunscreen. While in Malaysia for Palm Oil Nutrition Week, I attended a presentation by Dr. Michiaki Murakoshi, a leading researcher for Japan’s Lion Corporation. Dr. Murakoshi has spent years studying the effect of carotenes on our immune systems and cancer. He recently investigated how these carotenes may help protect the body against UV damage. Malaysian palm fruit oil is richer in alpha- and beta-carotenes than even carrots or tomatoes.

His presentation included a slide with a woman’s face under three conditions: natural, tanned and after increasing her carotenoid intake. Participants agreed that her skin after heightened carotenoid consumption looked healthiest.

Dr. Murakoshi, whose research spans decades, shared some other fascinating information:

• The carotenoids from red palm fruit are chemoprotective, meaning they boost healthy tissue’s ability to protect itself from harmful toxins.

• There is ongoing research investigating palm fruit oil carotenoids’ effects on cancers (colon, lung, tongue and bladder).

• Palm fruit’s tocotrienols’ and carotenoids’ ability to support a healthy immune system is particularly important to nations where malnutrition is a major concern. It currently feeds three billion people in 150 countries.

• Malaysian palm fruit oil is non-GMO.

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