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Walnuts could help cut breast cancer risk

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Eating just a handful of walnuts a day could help cut the risk of breast cancer by up to half, scientists have revealed.

Researchers investigated the effects of giving the nuts to mice from when they were in the womb, via their mothers, to adulthood, with the amount equating to about 2oz a day for humans.

It could be good news for fans of Waldorf salads, which famously use walnuts as an ingredient.

The salad was created in the 1890s at the New York hotel of the same name, although walnuts were only added to the original recipe later.

Elaine Hardman, who led the study, said the mice given walnuts not only had a lower risk of cancer but those which developed the disease had fewer and smaller tumours.

‘These reductions are particularly important when you consider that the mice were genetically programmed to develop cancer at a high rate,’ she said.

‘We were able to reduce the risk for cancer even in the presence of a pre-existing genetic mutation.

‘The results of this study indicate that increased consumption of walnuts could be part of a healthy diet and reduce risk for cancer in future generations.’
The project at Marshall University, West Virginia, also used genetic analysis.
This found that the walnut diet changed the activity of multiple genes which are relevant to breast cancer in both mice and humans.

Miss Hardman added that other studies have also clearly shown that several ingredients in the nuts reduce the risk of cancer or slow its growth.
She claims her research, reported in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, highlighted the vital role diet plays in health.

She said: ‘What we put into our bodies makes a big difference: it determines how the body functions, our reaction to illness and health,.
'Food is important medicine in our diet.

'The simple stuff really works: eat right, get off the couch, and turn off the TV.
'The results of this study indicate that increased consumption of walnut could be part of a healthy diet and reduce risk for cancer in future generations,' she said.
The paper notes that dietary modification studies do not show whether benefits result from what is added to a diet or what is removed.

In this case, adding healthy fat and other components meant that unhealthy fat was reduced to keep total dietary fat balanced in the mice.
Hardman said other studies have clearly shown, however, that multiple ingredients in walnuts reduce the risk of cancer or slow its growth.

Other testing showed that increases in omega 3 fatty acids did not fully account for the anti-cancer effect, and found that tumor growth decreased when dietary vitamin E increased.

The study was funded by grants from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the California Walnut Commission

Courtesy: Mail online




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