A Handful of Walnuts could Slow Prostate Cancer

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New evidence shows that eating walnuts could slow prostate cancer. Researchers say walnuts have an effect on genes responsible for tumor growth and metabolism. The findings mean that eating a handful of the healthful snack on a regular basis could be beneficial for cancer patients and might prevent prostate cancer.

The findings, conducted by researchers from UC Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California studies the effect of walnuts on mice genetically programmed to get prostate cancer.

The scientists hoped to find out more about how genes and diet interact to prevent disease. Prostate cancer affects one in six men in America. Walnuts are known for their role in heart disease prevention because they contain beneficial polyunsaturated fat, antioxidants and other beneficial chemicals. The current study revealed that in addition to preventing heart disease, walnuts also slowed the progression of prostate cancer tumor growth in mice.


"Walnuts should be part of a prostate-healthy diet," said Paul Davis, Ph.D., who headed the study. They should be part of a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables."

For the study, mice were fed about 2.5 ounces of whole walnuts daily for two months. Compared to a control group fed the same diet except with soybean, the mice given walnuts developed 50 percent smaller prostate cancer tumors that grew 30 percent slower.

"Davis explains, “We decided to use whole walnuts in the diet because when a single component of a food linked to cancer prevention has been tested as a supplement, that food's cancer-preventative effects disappear in most cases.” Walnuts contain high levels of beneficia omega 3 fatty acids that also reduce infammation and can help fight heart disease, and now found to be beneficial for prostate cancer.

The findings that walnuts could slow prostate cancer growth means a handful of walnuts daily, also known to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, are a healthy option that can be easily added to your daily food intake. The researchers also found that walnuts had a beneficial effect on genes that influence tumor growth in the liver and in the individual tumors. Walnuts, tomatoes, and pomegranates are now all shown to be beneficial for prostate cancer prevention and progression.

American Chemical Society