Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston studied more than 800 patients diagnosed and treated for stage-III bowel cancer and discovered the positive effects of nuts. To wit: Patients who regularly consumed at least two servings of nuts each week significantly lowered their risk of an early death by 57 percent. It also reduced the risk of the cancer returning by 42 percent.
“Nut consumption is one of the lifestyle factors that may potentially change the risk of colon cancer coming back, although these are not replacements for standard therapies,” said study lead author Temidayo Fadelu, MD.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization estimates that the number of bowel cancer cases in the country could reach 135,430 for 2017. It's also foreseen to cause 50,260 deaths this year. Bowel cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and the third leading cause in women.
There are various risk factors for bowel cancer and while some of them are irreversible -- age, family history, and ethnic background -- there are factors that are under your control. To avoid contracting bowel cancer, you can regulate your weight, eat healthily, engage in ample physical activity, stop smoking, and refrain from heavy alcohol use.
Eating right is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. Almonds have immense health benefits and are ideal in improving bowel cancer. They contain magnesium, vitamin E, selenium and lots of fiber. They can lower cholesterol and help fight cancer. It's no wonder these are considered a superfood. Nineteen percent of the patients involved in the study ate at least two ounces -- equivalent to 22 almonds -- of any nut each week and the results are impressive: They reduced the risk of cancer returning by 42 percent.
Walnuts and pecans have the most antioxidant levels. The total antioxidant activity of 100 g of walnuts is equivalent to that of a hundred oranges (8067 mg of Vitamin C). The study found that these tree nuts lowered the risk of death by 53 percent and made it 46 percent less likely for the cancer to return. Interesting enough, peanut and peanut butter do not have any impact on the disease.
Also included in the study were patients who underwent chemotherapy and surgery. The results showed that the cancer didn't spread and that patients had a 70 percent chance of survival three years after treatment. Fadelu noted the benefits of nut consumption based on numerous studies and wanted to determine if nuts would have similar effects on people with colorectal cancer.
The study followed a 2013 research on the lifestyle effects on cancer which showed that people who consumed nuts daily were 11 percent less likely to succumb to cancer compared to those who don't eat any nuts. Both studies are proof that patients with advanced disease can improve their condition by modifying their diet and engaging in physical activity.
“Nut consumption is just one factor among an entire slew of healthy behaviors, including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages, that will help to reduce the odds of colon cancer coming back,” Fadelu further added.