June 3, 2016

Walnuts may fight colon cancer

PHOTO | Al Ferreira for UConn Health
PHOTO | Al Ferreira for UConn Health
Principal investigator Daniel W. Rosenberg, professor of medicine, Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology.

UConn researchers, in a report published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, are saying walnuts may be an effective tool for fighting colon cancer.

A team of researchers from UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine found that mice that ate walnuts as 7 percent to 10.5 percent of their total calories developed fewer colon cancers. The effect was most pronounced in male mice, which had 2.3 times fewer tumors when fed walnuts as part of a diet similar to the typical American. That's equivalent to a human eating about an ounce of walnuts a day.

"Our results show for the first time that walnut consumption may reduce colon tumor development," said principal investigator Dr. Daniel W. Rosenberg of UConn Health in an announcement of the research.

Researchers found there is accumulating evidence that eating walnuts may offer a variety of benefits related to health issues like cancer. This study shows that walnuts may also act as a probiotic to make the colon healthy, which in turn offers protection against colon tumors.

Walnuts are packed with compounds known to be important nutritionally. The report said they have the most polyunsaturated fatty acids of all the commonly eaten tree nuts, as well as the highest ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, and high levels of a form of Vitamin E with anti-cancer properties.

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