Can walnuts keep prostate cancer at bay?

Apart from being a delicious snack, eating a handful of walnuts can prove to be a health boost, claim medics. The nut could be a natural weapon against prostate cancer, finds a new study.

Researchers delving into the protective benefits of walnuts against the malignancy found eating small portions of the nut could be vital in holding back the tumors.

Animal study
In a bid to determine whether walnuts could be part of a prostate healthy diet, the researchers conducted an animal study.

Scientists at the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio injected 48 immuno-compromised nude mice with human prostate cancer cells.

Within a short span of three to four weeks the tumors typically began to grow in the experimental mice. In order to examine the benefits of walnuts on mice prone to prostate cancer, 32 rodents were assigned a control diet while 16 received a walnut enriched diet.

Senior author of the study, Dr. Russel Reiter, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the Health Science Center stated, “The walnut portion was not a large percentage of the diet. It was the equivalent to a human eating about 2 ounces, or two handfuls, a day, which is not a lot of walnuts.”

Revelations of the study
The trials revealed that only three of the mice eating the walnut-enriched diet developed prostate tumors as opposed to 14 on the non-walnut control diet. Moreover, mice on the walnut diet exhibited a reduction in the growth of prostate cancer by one-fourth compared to those eating a diet sans walnuts.

Dr. Reiter stated “We found the results to be stunning because there were so few tumors in animals consuming the walnuts and these tumors grew much more slowly than in the other animals. We were absolutely surprised by how highly effective the walnut diet was in terms of inhibition of human prostate cancer.

“The data to date suggests that using walnuts on a regular basis in the diet may be beneficial to defer, prevent or delay some types of cancer, including breast and prostate.”

This study has been published in the journal Cancer Investigation.