Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Daily Serving of Walnuts Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

Researchers from Marshall University in West Virginia report in the journal Nutrition and Cancer that small amounts of walnuts eaten daily can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in women. Walnuts are a naturally great tasting source of healthy Omega-3 fats, minerals, vitamins and protein that have long been associated with good health.

Interestingly, it is not only the potent dose of Omega-3 fats that are responsible for the risk reduction, but a synergistic effect between multiple nutrients provided by the nut. Scientists now confirm that eating two ounces of this super food each day can significantly lower your risk of developing this insidious killer disease.

Regular Walnut Consumption Slows Breast Cancer Tumor Progression
The study was conducted using mice that are genetically predisposed to develop breast cancer tumors.  Lead researcher, Dr. Elaine Hardman set out to determine the effect of a typical diet and a walnut-enhanced diet through an entire lifespan. Scientists examined dietary nutrition supplied by the mother through conception and weaning and then by eating walnuts directly. Mice are frequently used for this type of research because they follow similar patterns of breast cancer carcinogenesis when compared to humans.

Dr. Hardman found that the group whose diet included walnuts from conception to late life developed breast cancer at less than half the rate of the group consuming a typical diet. In addition, the number of tumors and their sizes were significantly smaller. Of the results, she commented “These reductions are particularly important when you consider that the mice were genetically programmed to develop cancer at a high rate... we were able to reduce the risk for cancer even in the presence of a preexisting genetic mutation.”

Walnuts Provide a Perfect Blend of Essential Nutrients
Researchers noted that they were unable to determine if the cancer prevention benefits were the result of deletions or additions to the diet. Adding healthy Omega fats from walnuts displaced unhealthy fats and balanced Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios to lower systemic inflammation and oxidized LDL cholesterol levels that result in cancer development. Other studies including walnuts have shown that there are multiple health benefits achieved from the unique blend of fats, vitamins (especially vitamin E) and minerals in the flavorful nut.

The result of this study continues to add to the wealth of scientific evidence that natural nutrients provided by an array of `super foods` significantly contribute to our health. Dr. Hardman concluded “Food is important medicine in our diet… the results of this study indicate that increased consumption of walnuts could be part of a healthy diet and reduce risk for cancer in future generations.” It`s easy to add two ounces of walnuts (about 14 halves) to your daily diet to prevent breast cancer and a host of other chronic diseases.

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