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Walnuts can benefit prostate cancer patients, according to a study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio and published in July 2013. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial vitamin E (the gamma-tocopherol form), walnuts are good for heart health and fighting inflammation. But more and more studies are finding that walnuts can help provide protection against prostate cancer by preventing tumors from forming, reducing the size of tumors, and slowing tumor growth.
Researchers at the University of Texas injected mice with human prostate cancer cells. After the tumors started to grow, 19 of the mice received walnuts in their diet in a mouse-size equivalent to a human serving of 2 ounces, or about 2 handfuls, daily. Only three of the mice who ate walnuts developed tumors. Those three mice had tumors that were on average ¼ the size of the control group’s tumors. In the control group, which did not receive walnuts, 14 out of 32 mice developed tumors.
There are other studies on benefits of walnuts proving useful in fighting prostate cancer. Another study on mice and walnuts was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Mice with prostate cancer tumors were fed the human equivalent of 3 ounces of walnuts daily. The mice had a 50% reduction in the size of their tumors and the growth of the tumors was slowed by 30%.
How to eat walnuts
When you eat walnuts, eat the whole nut, including the skin to get the best nutritional benefits. About 90% of the beneficial phytonutrients are found in the skin. The phenols found in include flavonoids and tannins.
Having trouble finding ways to fit walnuts into your diet? Toss them in your salad, in your cereal bowl, or use them as a topping for oatmeal. Use walnut powder as a thickening agent in soups or casseroles.
Walnuts pair nicely with honey, fruits such as banana, and cinnamon. Roasting walnuts brings out more flavor, and roasted walnuts can be added to the end cooking stages of rice, curry, or vegetable dishes. You can make your own trail mix with other healthy nuts and keep it near your desk for a high-protein snack. The health benefits of walnuts in prostate health are worth adding these nuts to your diet.
Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.
Davis PA et al. A high-fat diet containing whole walnuts (Juglans regia) reduces tumour size and growth along with plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 in the transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate model. British Journal Nutrition 2012 Nov 28; 108(10): 1764-72
Reiter RJ. A walnut-enriched diet reduces the growth of LNCaP human prostate cancer xenografts in nude mice. Cancer Investigation 2013 Jul; 31(6): 365-73.