NEW research: Slash your cancer risk, one nut at a time

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nuts-slash-cancer-risk(NaturalHealth365) Despite their high fat content, it’s long been understood that nuts can still have their place in a healthy diet.  In fact, we now know that the “carb-craze” of the last few decades had it all wrong.  Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, are essential for brain and heart function, plus improved nutrient absorption.

However, a new review article in Nutrients found that an increased intake of nuts is associated with reduced risks of colon, lung, and pancreas cancers.  Another study by the University of California, Davis, provides further evidence supporting earlier research results indicating that walnuts, in particular, help reduce hormone levels thought to increase the incidence of prostate and breast cancer.

New study examines the cancer-fighting potential of dried fruits and nuts

The above-referenced review article delved into the potential cancer-fighting properties of dried fruits and nuts, highlighting their rich nutrient and phytochemical content.  It summarized how consuming these foods may influence cancer risk, mortality rates, and survival outcomes.

While evidence regarding dried fruits’ impact on cancer is somewhat limited, studies suggest that munching on them might correlate with a lower risk of developing certain cancers.  Nuts, on the other hand, seem to offer more concrete cancer-fighting benefits.  Just having around 28 grams of nuts daily could significantly lower cancer mortality rates. (That’s only 1 ounce per day!)

Walnuts stand out in the fight against cancer

The lead researcher of another study wrote in the Journal of Medicinal Food that investigations focusing on the benefits of walnuts show that the nuts themselves, as well as walnut oil, not only reduce excess cholesterol and enhance insulin sensitivity but also decrease levels of the hormone IGF-1 – which is linked to cancer of the prostate and other malignancies.

Davis, who has been studying the heart benefits of walnuts for years, said that the high fat content exhibited by nuts does not contribute to the growth of prostate cancer.  Instead, he said, walnuts had quite the opposite impact.

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However, it isn’t the omega-3s acting alone that reduces cancer risk, but rather fats working in combination with whatever other substances make up walnut oil.

Why do walnuts reduce the risk of cancer?

It’s believed that decreased levels of IGF-1 restrict cancer from growing as quickly as it normally would.  In addition, avoiding excess cholesterol will reduce your risk of cancer because too much cholesterol can promote cancer cell growth.  As a side note, having too low a cholesterol profile is also linked to a higher cancer risk.  But, abnormally low cholesterol is a discussion for another day.

Consumed in reasonable quantities, nuts have long been known to benefit the heart.  Past research has shown that nuts can reduce inflammation, which is known to be an underlying culprit behind heart disease and many other health problems.

This reduction in inflammation also allows blood vessels to dilate as necessary, reducing the opportunity for unhealthy blood pressure spikes.

But beyond heart health, it is known that inflammation also contributes to the growth of many cancers.  Davis reports that it is believed walnuts interfere with the production of a protein called endothelin, which is related to both blood pressure control as well as regulation of prostate growth.

Type-2 diabetes increases your risk of cancer

According to Michael Pollak, MD, a professor at the Department of Oncology and Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Unit at McGill University, “the trend emerging [in this area] is that type-2 diabetes associated with high insulin levels is the biggest problem relating to cancer risk.” But, he goes on to emphasize that the higher risk of cancer is “evident for everyone with prediabetes, which is a much larger group.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 38 percent of Americans have prediabetes – which is represented by too much insulin in the blood.  The consumption of unhealthy, processed oils or trans fats can lead to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and many forms of cancer.

The solution is clear:  Science is repeatedly telling us to eat natural, organic foods from their natural sources to avoid chronic disease.  Don’t be fooled into believing that all fats are created equal and need to be avoided.  That’s a lie.

Moderate amounts of fat from 100% grass-fed beef, pasture raised eggs, coconut oil, avocados, or walnuts, along with healthy sources of complex carbohydrates that come from whole grains like brown rice or millet, can go a long way to preventing cancer plus many other degenerative disease conditions.   And, of course, go organic – as much as you can – to avoid unwanted chemical exposure.

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