Walnuts have been found to prevent and even initiate killing cancer cells, according to several studies conducted on them. The reason for this cancer-killing property resides in the rare phytonutrients that are rarely found in other foods. These compounds (the quinone juglone, tannin tellimagrandin, flavanol morin4) are well known for inhibiting cancer. Also, walnuts are the only type of nut having plant-based alpha-linolenic acid ALA, as well as various antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, beneficial in preventing cancer.
Researchers at UC Davis claim that whole walnut or walnut oil, can slow down prostate cancer in mice. A handful of walnuts per day can greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer and growth of tumors. Most importantly, they reduce the level of hormone IGF-1 that is potentially responsible for the development of breast and prostate cancer.
According to a Harvard Medical School study, diets rich in walnuts can potentially slow colorectal cancer tumor growth. The configuration of walnut causes significant changes in the microribonucleic acid (miRNAs) present in colorectal cancer tissue, bringing changes in a cancer gene.
Researchers at Harvard conducted a randomized study containing two groups of mice, one group fed with 2 ounces walnuts per day and the second group fed with a similar diet which lacked walnuts. 25 days later, it was found that mice which were fed with walnuts had ten times more amount of total omega-3 fatty acids, as well as plant-based ALA (alpha-linolenic acid); the key miRNAs were positively engaged. In these mice, smaller tumor size was observed with the greater percentage of omega-3, further suggesting the protective benefits of ALA as well. The growth rate of the tumor was also slower in walnut-fed mice.
Hence, including walnuts is your diet could be beneficial for preventing cancer, but too much intake can be hazardous because of its calories (just 2.6 ounces contain 482 calories). Therefore, whenever, you crave to have some snack with tea or some cookies, prefer eating a handful of walnuts!