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?
A walnut is full of omega 3 fats and plant chemicals, which help lower blood cholesterol and inflammation.
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, which means they boost the body’s capability to fight cell damage and inflammation caused by free radicals, and slow down cancerous growth – a reason why walnuts are one of the most studied nuts in cancer research.1
Walnut, The Cancer Fighter
Just 28 gm walnuts a day can reduce tumor number by 2.3 times.
Several studies are throwing light on the walnut’s cancer-fighting abilities. In one study, when compared with animals on a regular diet, those fed about 28 gm 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.
Consuming walnuts reduced tumor size by 75% in one study.
A similar result was obtained in prostate 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
Consuming 56 gm walnuts daily decreased breast cancer tumor growth rate by 5 times in another study.
A study, again on mice, involved injecting them with breast cancer tumors and modifying the diet to include 56 gm walnuts daily. Tumor cells growth and proliferation showed a significant decrease by about five times.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.
|↑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.|