Scientists have found that eating a handful of walnuts every day could help reduce the chance of prostate cancer, which is one of the most common cancers among men.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, indicated that diets rich in walnuts or its oil could decelerate prostate cancer growth in mice and reduced cholesterol.
Walnuts have already been shown to protect people against breast cancer and heart disease as they have a high amount of health boosting chemicals, including omega-3 fatty acids.
The results of the latest study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, illustrated that they reduce levels of the hormone IGF-1, which has been implicated in both prostate and breast cancer.
“For years, the United States government has been on a crusade against fat, and I think it has been to our detriment,” said Dr. Paul Davis, adding, “Walnuts are a perfect example. While they are high in fat, their fat does not drive prostate cancer growth.”
He noted that walnuts “do just the opposite when fed to mice.”
During the study, three groups of mice were fed whole walnuts, walnut oil or a walnut-like fat for 18 weeks.
The results showed that while walnuts and its oil reduced cholesterol and slowed prostate cancer growth, the walnut like fat did not have these effects, proving that other nut components caused the improvements.
“We showed it is not the omega-3s by themselves, though, it could be a combination of the omega-3s with whatever else is in the walnut oil,” said Dr. Davis.
He said that the energy effects from cutting IGF-1 appear “to muck up the works so the cancer cannot grow as fast as it normally would,” adding, “Also, reducing cholesterol means cancer cells may not get enough of it to allow these cells to grow quickly.”
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