Eat steak and forget the SPF factor

I have never quite understood the cartoon-like process of putting a raw steak on a black eye as a healing remedy. Conceivably it is the cold temperature of the meat that equates to a bovine cold compress to take down the swelling. But I’m sure if it really worked, the beef folk would have considered research into the therapeutic effects of steak on contusions.

However, there is something that meat – beef, lamb and pork ie meats with good ranges of vitamin B – as well as nuts, grains and cereal (did anyone mention food pyramid?) apparently can do that the Aussie scientists have discovered. It seems vitamin B3, nicotinamide, found in these foods might be more effective than sunscreen in preventing skin cancer.

Research at Sydney University has found that B3 prevents damage from both UVA and UVB radiation by protecting the immune system. This has got to be good news for a nut-crumbed pork schnitzel or steak sandwich on whole grain. Although scientists are suggesting it could be reproduced as a pill, as nicotinamide is tolerated well by the body. Conversely it could be introduced to sunscreen formulas and we can apply it topically …and maybe still enjoy that whole grain meat sanga for the inside-out, double whammy effect.

While both UV rays are responsible for cancer, it is the UVB rays against which sunscreens provide protection not UVA.

“UV radiation in sunlight suppresses the skin’s immune system and makes it more susceptible to skin cancer,” says Sydney’ University’s Associate Professor, Diona Damian. “Our research found that nicotinamide [vitamin B3] can prevent the immunosuppressive effects of UV by energising cells so they maintain their immunity.”

I’m enormously chuffed by this research. Last summer’s cinema and TV ads for skin cancer have been enormously off-putting especially when tucking into a meal in lounge potato mode. Now at least I can console myself with a healthy toasted grain and train smash sambo – and change the channel.

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