Colon Cancer May Be Reduced By Eating Walnuts

If walnuts are a rarity in your home, next time you’re at the grocery store be sure to stock up.  Eating about an ounce of walnuts a day - equal to 14 walnut halves at 190 calories and 4 gram of protein - appears to keep our colon healthy resulting in less chance of developing colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the world. 

This announcement comes from new research led by UConn Health report in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

The UConn research team used mice for their study.  They found mice consuming 7 percent to 10.5 percent of their total calories in the form of walnuts developed less colon cancer.  Male mice fed a diet fortified with 10.5 percent walnuts had the greatest decrease in developing colon cancer compared to mice not fed walnuts.

The researchers analyzed fecal samples of the mice to determine why walnuts were beneficial. What was found was mice consuming walnuts had a better gut microbiome potentially protecting them from developing cancerous tumors.  It’s theorized that gut bacteria feed on fiber digesting it into compounds with anti-inflammatory properties possible reducing tumor formation.  By adding walnuts to the mice’s diet, their microbiomes became healthier and less tumor formation was initiated.

Obviously, since the research was done only on mice, it cannot at this time be recommended as a tool to reduce cancer.  But more testing should be done in humans to determine if the same conclusions were to be found.

However principal investigator for the study, Daniel W. Rosenberg of UConn Health seems to be convinced of walnuts wonders as he stated, “Even now, I try to eat walnuts every day.”

Walnuts are well-known for their various health-promoting properties.  Of all tree nuts, walnuts have the most polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as the highest ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. They also contain a high level of a form of vitamin E with anti-cancer properties.

In addition to possibly warding off colon cancer, consuming about one ounce of walnuts each day may also provide protection against heart disease and diabetes along with improving cognitive functioning and providing satiety for better weight management.