Leafy Vegetables May Protect Against Skin Cancer, but Dairy Increases Risk


A study published in the International Journal of Cancer, examined the connection between food intake and the risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer, and it accounts for up to 20% of all deaths from skin cancer.

Study Shows Decreased Skin Cancer Incidence with Green Leafy Vegetable Consumption, but Increased Incidence with Dairy

The researchers studied over 1,000 adults living in Australia over an 11-year period, and they found some associations in participants with a history of skin cancer. Individuals who had a high intake of green leafy vegetables exhibited a decreased incidence of SCC tumors. On the contrary, participants who had a high intake of “unmodified” dairy products showed an increased incidence of SCC tumors. Unmodified dairy products were defined as foods like full‐cream milk and cheese. These associations were not seen in participants without a prior history of skin cancer.

The researchers speculated that dairy products could be positively associated with insulin‐like growth factor 1 (IGF1), which has been implicated as a risk factor in a variety of different cancers. It could also be due to the higher fat content of unmodified dairy products. Studies have shown evidence of increased skin cancer risk with high fat consumption. Or, it could simply be a factor in poor overall dietary habits that might affect cancer risk.

10 Recipes for Dairy-Free Greens

Substantial research seems to support green leafy vegetables for cancer prevention in general, and dairy has been lambasted in many cancer studies. So why not enjoy these easy recipes for dairy-free greens! These recipes are also plant-based and gluten-free to help meet a variety of dietary needs.

  1. Healthy Sneaky Shamrock Shake
  2. Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kale Salad
  3. Garlicky Greek Chickpeas & Spinach (pictured below)
  4. Colorful Kale Salad with Orange Ginger Dressing
  5. Homemade Spinach Tortillas
  6. The Ultimate Superfood Salad
  7. Spicy Soba Noodles with Wilted Watercress
  8. Artichoke Curry Spinach Dip
  9. Shredded Vegetable & Kale Pancakes
  10. Spicy Grilled Tofu Salad

Garlicky Greek Chickpeas & Spinach Recipe - vegan, gluten-free and allergy-friendly!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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