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Walnuts help contain Alzheimer's disease.
Walnuts help contain Alzheimer's disease.

Health Byte: Consuming Walnuts Daily Curbs Prostate Cancer Growth

The University of California-Davis researchers say walnuts or its oil could significantly slow down the growth of prostate cancer, not merely because of its omega-3 but due to the fat content.

It was already reported in many research findings that consuming walnut oil helps blood vessel functioning with good cholesterol and removing the bad cholesterol from the body and may help reduce the risk, delay the onset, slow the progression of, or prevent Alzheimer’s disease all together.

The latest study, however, has confirmed that the walnuts lowered cholesterol and slowed prostate cancer growth, but the control fat diet did not, which means there is another component in walnuts, which can tackle the growth of prostate cancer.

Though they could not zero-in on it, the researchers did rule out fiber, zinc, magnesium and selenium from their future study. The researcher have fed the mice either whole walnuts, walnut oil or the control fat diet for 18 weeks to arrive at the results.

[ALSO SEE: Walnuts Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease]

“We showed that it’s not the omega-3s by themselves, though, it could be a combination of the omega-3s with whatever else is in the walnut oil,” says lead author Paul Davis. “It’s becoming increasingly clear in nutrition that it’s never going to be just one thing; it’s always a combination.”

The research also showed that the reduced cholesterol deprives cancer cells any scope to grow quickly. Walnuts also increase adiponectin and the tumor suppressor PSP94 and decreases in COX-2, which point out the potential for a possible drug to deal with prostate cancer, he said.

“For years, the US government has been on a crusade against fat, and I think it’s been to our detriment,” says Davis. “Walnuts are a perfect example. While they are high in fat, their fat does not drive prostate cancer growth. In fact, walnuts do just the opposite when fed to mice.” The results suggest incorporating walnuts into a healthy diet could provide better health benefit but should not be overtaken.

“In our study, the mice were eating the equivalent of 2.6 oz of walnuts. You need to realize that 2.6 oz of walnuts is about 482 calories. That’s not insignificant, but it’s better than eating a serving of supersized fries, which has 610 calories.” In addition to the cancer benefit, the researchers said walnuts also provide cardiovascular benefits. The study was supported by research grants from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the California Walnut Board.

In another research, Abha Chauhan from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) found in her research that a walnut-enriched diet every day may help reduce the risk, delay the onset, slow the progression of, or prevent Alzheimer’s disease all together.

In fact, the nutritional benefits of walnuts when consumed in whole form, including the skin, are higher, say studies.The walnut skin or outermost part of shelled walnuts is bitter but it has phenol-rich properties, which could be another reason for the positive results found in the present study.

Otherwise, walnut also provides very high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol and beneficial to heart’s health.

A recent study has determined that only 5.5% of all adults (ages 19-50) consume tree nuts of any kind, whichis good for a balanced diet, averaging about 1.25 ounces of tree nuts per day. Researchers have reported that on a daily average, tree nut eaters take in 5 grams more fiber, 260 milligrams more potassium, 73 more milligrams of calcium, 95 more milligrams of magnesium, 3.7 milligrams more vitamin E, and 157 milligrams less sodium.

Walnut also has some phytonutrients such as the quinone juglone, which are not found in virtually no other commonly-eaten foods. Other phytonutrients like the tannin tellimagrandin or the flavonol morin are also present in walnut, which are rare and valuable as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients explain the decreased risk of prostate and breast cancer.


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