United States researchers have found that walnut consumption significantly reduces the growth of tumors in mice genetically programmed to develop prostate cancer.
In the study, lead researcher Paul Davis, a professional nutritionist working with the University of California, Davis Cancer Center, fed a diet of whole walnuts to a group of lab mice predisposed to prostate cancer and compared the progression of the disease to that of subjects on a normal diet.
After 18 weeks of follow-up, Davis and his colleagues found that consuming the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of walnuts per day resulted in a 30 percent to 40 percent tumor growth reduction compared to mice in the control group.
The investigators also found that mice on the walnut diet had lower blood levels of insulin-like growth factor, which is a protein that had been linked to prostate cancer in separate studies.
“This study shows that when mice with prostate tumors consume an amount of walnuts that could easily be eaten by a man, tumor growth is controlled,” concluded Davis. “This leaves me very hopeful that it could be beneficial in patients.”
Although walnuts are high in fat, they have also been linked to improved heart health and an enhanced metabolism.