Walnuts are rich in omega 3s, phytosterols, polyphenols, carotenoids, and melatonin – all of which help reduce oxidative stress and retard tumor growth (size and number). They influence gut microflora, precluding colon cancer. They also prevent prostate and breast cancers. Brain booster, anti-inflammatory agent, cholesterol fighter, and now anti-carcinogen – more reason why to eat this super-nut.
The walnut looks strikingly like the human brain and with good reason too! This superfood is a brain booster that helps develop neuron transmitters and improve signaling between brain cells. Walnuts can also reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Now it turns out they may even have a role to play in the battle against the big C, cancer.
What Makes Walnut A Super-Nut?
The humble walnut is a wholesome food rich in omega 3 fatty acids, phytosterols, polyphenols, carotenoids, and melatonin. Walnuts also contain a whole bouquet of protective compounds that are known to lower blood cholesterol and act as anti-inflammatory agents. Studies suggest these compounds have the ability to reduce oxidative stress and slow down cancerous growth – a reason why walnuts are one of the most studied nuts in cancer research.1
Walnut, the Cancer Fighter
Several studies are throwing light on the walnut’s cancer-fighting abilities. In one study, when compared to animals on a regular diet, those fed about 28 gms of walnuts daily had 2.3 times fewer tumors, specifically colon tumor.2 The researchers found that the various complex constituents of walnuts possessed cancer-protective properties, and these led to a marginal reduction in tumor numbers for mice under a standard diet.
There was also a significant reduction in tumor numbers when walnut comprised 7% of a Total Western Diet (a rodent diet that mirrors typical American diet and nutrition). Walnuts seemed to have a significant impact on the gut microbes, resulting in fewer colon tumors.
Prostate and Breast Cancer Too
A similar result was obtained in prostate and breast cancer research as well. Researchers found that a walnut-enriched diet reduced the number of prostate tumors in mice. The tumors also grew more slowly and were only one-fourth the size when compared to those in mice not on a walnut diet.3
Another study, again on mice, involved injecting them with breast cancer tumors and modifying the diet to include walnuts. Tumor cells growth and proliferation showed a significant decrease.4
Walnuts In Our Future
Reduction in tumor numbers in colon cancer and in tumor size and rate of growth in breast and prostate cancer – that’s a lot of promise rolled into one nut. With more extensive studies, especially human clinical trials, science will be one step closer to identifying how beneficial the simple walnut can be in our battle against cancer. Till we get there, chomping a few walnuts daily might be a habit well worth building.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Carvalho, Márcia, Pedro J. Ferreira, Vanda S. Mendes, Renata Silva, José A. Pereira, Carmen Jerónimo, and Branca M. Silva. “Human cancer cell antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of Juglans regia L.” Food and Chemical Toxicology48, no. 1 (2010): 441-447.|
|2.||↑||Nakanishi, Masako, Yanfei Chen, Veneta Qendro, Shingo Miyamoto, Erica Weinstock, George M. Weinstock, and Daniel W. Rosenberg. “Effects of walnut consumption on colon carcinogenesis and microbial community structure.” Cancer Prevention Research (2016): canprevres-0026.|
|3.||↑||Reiter, Russel J., Dun-Xian Tan, Lucien C. Manchester, Ahmet Korkmaz, Lorena Fuentes-Broto, W. Elaine Hardman, Sergio A. Rosales-Corral, and Wenbo Qi. “A walnut-enriched diet reduces the growth of LNCaP human prostate cancer xenografts in nude mice.” Cancer investigation 31, no. 6 (2013): 365-373.|
|4.||↑||Hardman, W. Elaine, and Gabriela Ion. “Suppression of implanted MDA-MB 231 human breast cancer growth in nude mice by dietary walnut.” Nutrition and cancer 60, no. 5 (2008): 666-674.|