Walnuts – Beneficial in Prostate Cancer?
St. Berchtold's Day, Switzerland. Named for Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen, who founded Bern, the capital of Switzerland. Eating nuts is a tradition on this day.
Paul Davis and colleagues note that walnuts are a rich source of healthful substances, including omega-3 fatty acids found in more expensive foods like salmon; gamma tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), polyphenols, and antioxidants. The scientists recently showed that walnuts could help fight heart disease by reducing levels of endothelin, a substance that increases inflammation of blood vessels. This effect was in addition to walnuts reducing levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL) in the blood. Knowing that people with prostate cancer have elevated levels of endothelin, the scientists decided to test whether eating walnuts could be beneficial in prostate cancer.
“We decided to use whole walnuts in the diet because when a single component of a food linked to cancer prevention has been tested as a supplement, that food’s cancer-preventative effects disappear in most cases,” Davis said.
The scientists fed lab mice genetically programmed to develop prostate cancer the equivalent of about 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day — equivalent to 14 shelled nuts — for 2 months. A control group of mice got the same diet except with soybean oil. The walnut-fed mice developed prostate cancers that were about 50 percent smaller than the control mice. Those cancers also grew 30 percent slower.
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