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Walnuts Help To Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Posted on Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 by anthony

Walnut Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer

New research confirms that a daily intake of just a handful of walnuts can help to significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer. The research led by Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., of Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine looked at the effect of a diet containing walnuts and breast cancer risk in mice that were genetically programmed to develop cancer at higher rates. The researchers compared the effects of a typical diet and a diet that also contained walnuts across the lifespan of the mice: through the mother (during pregnancy and through weaning), and when eating the food directly. The amount of walnut used in the test research equates to about 2 ounces a day for humans - 2 ounces = 28 halves which supplies around 370 calories (18.5% of a 2,000 calorie diet). 

They reearchers found that the group whose diet included walnut throughout their lifecycle had a 50% reduction in the rate of breast cancer development compared with the group that ate a typical diet. In addition, the mice in the walnut fed group developed tumours at a lower rate, and the number of tumours and the size of tumours were significantly smaller than the typical diet group. The researchers stated that: "These reductions are particularly important when you consider that the mice were genetically programmed to develop cancer at a high rate,".

The anticancer properties of walnuts

Antioxidants – 2oz of walnuts contain nearly double the recommended intake of antioxidants. In fact walnuts contain nearly twice the amount of antioxidants of any other commonly consumed nut. In addition the quality of the antioxidants present in walnuts is also the highest among nuts - antioxidants in walnuts have been found to be 2-15 times as potent as vitamin E.

Ellagic Acid - Ellagic acid appears to have some anti-cancer properties. It works as an anti-oxidant, and can cause cell death in cancer cells in the laboratory. It also appears to reduce the effect of estrogen in promoting the growth of breast cancer cells in tissue cultures.

Gallic acid - Gallic acid is a powerful antioxidant found in walnuts. It is believed to be beneficial to people suffering with neural disorders or who are at risk of certain cancers. Gallic acid is believed to be toxic to cancer cells, while having no negative effect on healthy cells.

Melatonin - melatonin modulates the transcriptional proliferation of human breast cancer cells.

Omega 3 – 2 oz of walnuts will give you nearly 200% of your daily recommended amounts of Omega 3. Omega 3 has a number of health benefits including helping to maintain a healthy heart and circulation, brain health, joint health, and may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers including breast and colon cancer.

Phytosterols - these are specific compound that resemble cholesterol and are found exclusively in plants. Phytosterols are believed to enhance our bodies own antitumor responses and directly inhibit tumor growth.

Additional considerations:

Although there are many health benefits to be gained by the addition of 2 ounces of walnuts to your diet, you should carefully adjust your daily calorific intake to accommodate the extra 300+ calories in the walnuts.

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