For their study, researchers from both the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., fed mice with prostate tumors the human equivalent of three ounces of walnuts a day. At the conclusion of the study, the mice’s tumors shrunk by 50 percent, and tumor growth slowed by 30 percent compared to control mice.
“These results make me very hopeful that walnuts may be beneficial both in terms of avoiding cancer and slowing cancer growth and therefore should be included in a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables,” said Dr. Paul Davis, lead researcher of the study. “If additional research determines that walnuts have the same effect in men as they do in mice, adhering to a diet that excludes walnuts to lower fat would mean that prostate cancer patients could miss out on the beneficial effects of walnuts.”
Besides serving as a prevention and treatment intervention for prostate cancer, walnuts also demonstrably lowered the risk of heart disease by naturally decreasing levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, while simultaneously increasing levels of HDL cholesterol, also known as “good cholesterol.”
The amazing thing about walnuts and other whole foods, though, is that no single nutrient inside them can be pinpointed and isolated as the sole beneficial factor. In explaining this very important fact, the study researchers noted in their report that “[t]he walnut diet’s beneficial effects probably represent the effects of the whole walnuts’ multiple constituents and not via a specific fatty acid or tocopherol.”
But walnuts’ benefits do not stop there. Walnuts are high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help prevent the type of bone loss that comes with aging. At the same time, the protein found in walnuts helps to build muscle, which is associated with stronger bones.
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