Eating walnuts slows cancer growth, laboratory
|Snack-sized quantities of walnuts slow cancer growth in
mice, reports a Marshall University pilot study published in
the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition and
Researcher W. Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of Marshall's Joan C.
Edwards School of Medicine said the purpose of the study was
to determine whether mice that got part of their calories by
eating walnuts had slower breast cancer growth than a group
eating a diet more typical of the American diet.
"When we fed the mice the walnuts, the growth rate of the
tumors they had was dramatically suppressed," Hardman said.
The mice ate a diet in which 18.5 percent of the daily
calories -- the equivalent of two servings for humans --
came from walnuts. Tumors in the walnut-fed group took twice
as long to double in size as tumors in the control group,
the article reports. The study is believed to be the first
to look at the impact of walnut consumption on cancer
"It's always very good to find something that will slow the
growth of tumors without being toxic chemotherapy," said
Hardman, who has spent 15 years studying the role of diet in
Walnuts have at least three components that could account
for their cancer-slowing effect, Hardman said. They are high
in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to slow cancer
growth. They also include antioxidants and components called
phytosterols, both of which have shown cancer-slowing
effects in other studies.
While the pilot study was only designed to determine whether
-- not why -- walnuts had a tumor-suppressing effect,
Hardman said research as a whole is suggesting that
Americans need to get more of their fat calories from fats
rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fewer fat calories from
saturated fat or foods high in omega-6 fatty acids.
In addition to walnuts, other good sources of omega-3 fatty
acids are fish and canola and flaxseed oils, she said.
Medicine is increasingly looking at dietary changes as a way
to reduce cancer, Hardman said.
"We're beginning to understand that your diet probably
contributes to one-third to two-thirds of all cancers that
develop, and making dietary changes to prevent cancer could
do more to reduce the deaths from cancer than chemotherapy
to treat cancer," she said.
"Changing our habits to reduce our risk not only of cancer
but also of other chronic diseases, such as heart disease
and diabetes, could reduce our health costs that are eating
us up and provide better lives for a lot of people," she
said. "I think in the future -- and probably the near future
-- our diet, and making dietary changes, is going to become
the biggest weapon for fighting cancer."
The project was funded through grants from the American
Institute for Cancer Research and the California Walnut
Commission, neither of which had input on the interpretation
or reporting of the findings.
Walnuts and Cholesterol
Can walnuts help fight high
cholesterol? You betcha!.
In the "Effects of Walnuts on
Serum Lipid Levels and Blood Pressure in Normal Men," published in the New
England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that men placed on
a diet which called for 20% of their weekly calories to come from walnuts, had
reductions in 12.4% in total cholesterol and 16.3% in LDL or "bad" cholesterol,
and only 4.9 percent in HDL ("good") cholesterol. The ratio of "bad" to "good"
cholesterol was also lowered by the walnut diet.
Walnuts are Beneficial for Coronary Heart Disease
A scientific review of all walnut-specific clinical research, announced
today by the Life Sciences Research Office (LSRO), concludes that the body
of research is strong that eating walnuts reduces the risk for heart disease
due to their preventative properties.
The article, entitled "The Scientific Evidence for a Beneficial Health
Relationship Between Walnuts and Coronary Heart Disease," is published in
the May issue of The Journal of Nutrition, a publication of the American
Society for Nutritional Sciences.
Key findings suggest that:
(1) Consuming walnuts did not cause a net gain in body weight
(2) Walnuts decreased serum cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk
(3) Walnuts are unique among nuts due to their polyunsaturated fat (omega-3
and omega-6) fatty acid content
The author, and four independent experts, evaluated the content and quality
of scientific evidence for a potential beneficial health relationship
between the intake of walnuts and the reduction and prevention of coronary
Five controlled, peer-reviewed, human clinical walnut intervention trials -
involving approximately 200 subjects considered representative of the adult
population in the United States at risk of coronary heart disease - were
"Daily intake of ¼ - ½ cup of walnuts (48 to 84 grams) lowered low density
lipoprotein cholesterol with little effect on high density lipoprotein
cholesterol and had other beneficial effects on blood lipids, all of which
have been shown in numerous other studies to reduce the risk of coronary
heart disease," says article author Elaine B. Feldman, M.D., Medical College
Commenting on the analysis, Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D., president of The
Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health and author of The Omega Diet said,
"Compared to most other nuts, which contain monounsaturated fatty acids,
walnuts are unique because they have a perfect balance of n-6 (linoleate)
and n-3 (linolenate) polyunsaturated fatty acids, a ratio of 4:1 which has
been shown to decrease the risk of sudden death in the Lyon Heart Study."
In addition, though walnuts are energy rich, clinical dietary intervention
studies show that walnut consumption did not cause a net gain in body weight
when eaten as a replacement food.
The review was conducted by the Life Sciences Research Office (LSRO). LSRO
is an independent, non-profit organization that conducts peer-reviewed
scientific reviews, prepares expert documents, and manages scientific
www.lsro.org). The review was conducted according to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration guidelines for assessing data for health claims (the
relationship between a food substance and a disease or health-related
condition). As with all LSRO studies, the LSRO has final authority for
selection of expert authors/reviewers, and the conclusions of the study.
Mother Nature knows best!
supplements. Put away those processed foods. Experts agree, sound nutrition is
simple: choose a variety of whole, fresh foods. In other words, eating the real
thing - fresh foods straight from the field or orchard- is your best bet.
Walnuts, for instance, are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are
essential for good health. But your body doesn't make them, so you have to get
them from the foods you eat.
Omega-3 Long Chain - Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Possible Health Benefits
|Prevent essential fatty
acid deficiency in infancy|
|Retinal and brain function
|Coronary heart disease|
|Certain cancers like
breast, colon & prostate|
|Auto-immune disease like
lupus & nephropathy|
|Inflammatory skin diseases
like atopic eczema, infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis|