Walnuts May Fight Breast Cancer


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We have all heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but did you know walnuts may also help in the fight against breast cancer? A recent study done on mice, presented at the April 2009 American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting, found that by adding the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts to their daily diet, the incidence and size of breast tumors in mice was significantly decreased.

One reason for this reduction in curbing tumor growth may be due to the fact that walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids: antioxidants and phytosterols. Phytosterols bind to estrogen receptors. Since many breast cancers are estrogen positive, which means they are fueled by estrogen, it is thought that the phytosterols in walnuts may slow the growth of estrogen related breast cancer. While researchers underscore there have been no specific studies on the effects of walnuts on human breast cancer, we do know a healthy diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts may prevent many cancers as well as diabetes and heart disease. So instead of reaching for potato chips and cookies when you want a snack, how about a handful of walnuts?

Every afternoon I go outside with my dogs, Sam and Goldie, and soak up the sun—wearing paraben free sunblock—and have an apple and a handful of walnuts. At this very moment my tongue is hard at work, trying to dislodge that last little remnant of walnuts stuck between my back teeth. Pardon me while I reach for the dental floss.