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Originally published April 24 2009

Eating Walnuts may Prevent Breast Cancer

by Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor

(NaturalNews) Addressing the American Association for Cancer Research's 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver, Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., offered this advice based on her cancer research: eat more walnuts. The study she presented at the meeting strongly suggests the nuts can reduce the risk of breast cancer -- a disease the National Cancer Institute says took about 50,000 lives last year in the U.S.

Dr. Hardman, associate professor of medicine at Marshall University School of Medicine, and her research team studied mice bred to develop breast tumors. The animals in one group received a daily diet that contained what the scientists estimated was about the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts. A control group of mice were not fed walnuts.

"These laboratory mice typically have 100 percent tumor incidence at five months; walnut consumption delayed those tumors by at least three weeks," Dr. Hardman said in a press statement. However, the scientists found that when the mice ate walnuts regularly, there was a significant decrease in the incidence of breast tumors, the number of glands with a tumor and the size of tumors.

Molecular analysis determined omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts contributed to the decrease in tumor incidence and size. But the researchers also found other parts of the walnut apparently had tumor-fighting abilities. Dr. Hardman pointed out that eating walnuts may provide the body with not only essential omega-3 fatty acids, but also antioxidants and phytosterols that reduce the risk of breast cancer.

"With dietary interventions you see multiple mechanisms when working with the whole food," Dr. Hardman said in a media statement. "It is clear that walnuts contribute to a healthy diet that can reduce breast cancer."

"Walnuts are better than cookies, French fries or potato chips when you need a snack," Dr. Hardman added. "We know that a healthy diet overall prevents all manner of chronic diseases."

In fact, there's a host of evidence accumulating that walnuts have multiple health benefits. For example, scientists at Barcelona's Hospital Clinico previously published research in the journal Circulation suggesting that eating walnuts can reduce damage to arteries and keep them flexible. And another study by Japanese researchers published recently in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that polyphenols in walnuts can prevent liver damage induced by toxic chemicals, including the cleaning solvent carbon tetrachloride.

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About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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