Regularly eat citrus fruit? Pay attention to sun protection

Providence, RI – If you eat oranges on a regular basis, you might want to apply extra sunscreen when venturing outside.

A new study from researchers at Brown University has linked eating grapefruit and drinking orange juice to a higher risk for malignant melanoma – a deadly form of skin cancer – in white people.

Researchers examined the dietary information of more than 105,000 white men and women tracked for 24 to 26 years. They found 1,840 incidents of melanoma.

People who ate citrus fruit at least 1.6 times a day had a 36 percent higher risk for melanoma. Grapefruit had the “most apparent association with risk of melanoma,” according to the researchers.

Eating citrus fruit is safe, but those who eat a significant amount should use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50, wear protective clothing or take other measures to shield against sunlight, researchers said in a press release. Citrus fruits contain the compound psoralen, which causes the skin to be more sensitive to light.

The study was published online June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.