Research Suggests Walnuts May Prevent Breast Cancer

walnutsA new US study has suggested that eating walnuts may help women reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.  The findings were presented during the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

According to the research, walnuts contain cancer-preventing ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols that may help in reducing the risk of the disease.  The findings were also supported when lab mics fed with the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts every day developed fewer and smaller tumors.

The experiment was conducted using two groups of mice, one of which was fed on a standard diet, while the other one was taking a walnut-based diet.  The mice that were fed with walnuts developed fewer tumors, and those that did become cancer took longer to develop and were smaller.

Researcher Dr. Elaine Hardman of Marshall University School of Medicine said that even though the study was applied on mice, the health benefits provided by walnuts were likely to apply to humans as well.  "We know that a healthy diet overall prevents all manners of chronic diseases," she added.

Previous research has also suggested that eating walnuts after meals may help cut the damage on the arteries cause by fatty foods.  Walnuts, and much of nuts in general, are rich in compounds that can reduce hardening of the arteries and keep them flexible.

Meanwhile, Anna Denny of the British Nutrition Foundation said that the evidence for nuts reducing the risk of heart disease was stronger than it was for their anti-cancer capabilities.  "Although nuts are high in fat, the fatty acids in nuts are predominantly good unsaturated fatty acids," Denny added.

"Other additional components of nuts that may contribute to a reduction in heart disease and cancer risk include fiber and bioactive compounds, (among them are phytosterols and flavonoids)."

Denny continued that more research is needed before attributing specific health benefits of nuts to particular bioactive compounds.