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Nuts can fight cancer at the cellular level

By Lee Euler / August 6, 2017

 

As long-time readers know, I recommend nuts as one of the healthiest foods you can eat. I’ve written about them often, and for good reason. Nuts are full of fiber, protein, vitamin E, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients.

The fats in nuts are much better for you than the carbohydrates most people gorge on. Nuts are a convenient snack, and they’re are so rich they fill you up quickly.

Just about any nut will do. Walnuts seem to have the most research to prove their benefits, but cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts are just fine. I think it’s best to eat a variety.

And now there are some new discoveries on the benefits of nuts in fighting colon cancer. This food can be an important part of your treatment. . .

Continued below…

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According to the American Cancer Society, around 95,520 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in 2017. It’s also expected to cause about 50,260 deaths this year.1

It’s one of the five top cancers. In the midst of this epidemic, it’s good to know that nut consumption may help reduce both the recurrence of, and risk of death from, colon cancer.

Researchers presented a paper at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting which offers new hope against this devastating disease. They studied the diets of 826 people with stage three colon cancer who were enrolled in a chemotherapy trial.

The researchers used a food frequency questionnaire to monitor what the participants ate throughout the course of the study. The researchers specifically pulled out the nut consumption information and compared it to colon cancer recurrence and mortality. What they found was astonishing.

Compared to people who abstained from eating nuts, people who regularly ate at least 2 ounces of tree nuts every week had a 46% lower risk of cancer recurrence and a 53% lower risk of death.2

That’s an amazing result, just from eating a food that tastes good anyway.

This outcome held true even when adjusted for common and suspected predictors of recurrence and mortality, such as gene mutations.3

What makes nuts so good
in the fight against cancer?

Nut consumption has been associated with a lot of health benefits for the heart, brain and metabolism, in addition to cancer.

One theory for these wide-ranging benefits is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols, especially those found in the monounsaturated fats – MUFA — and polyunsaturated fats — PUFA. (How many times have I told you fats are good for you?)

MUFA has been shown to boost pancreas function and PUFA may play a role in cell signaling and cell maintenance.4

Nut nutrients may undermine
cancer cell’s ability to thrive

While the study on colon cancer and tree nuts did not specify which nuts the participants ate, a study performed in South Korea found the phenolic compounds from walnuts altered colon cancer stem cells.

Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells metabolize glucose for energy in a process called “aerobic glycolysis,” also called the Warburg effect. The mitochondria or “energy batteries” in cancer cells are different from those in healthy cells.

When researchers treated the colon cancer stem cells with the walnut extract, they saw a restoration of normal mitochondrial function.5

Another study found treating colon cancer stem cells with walnut extract altered the DNA in the cells associated with development, metabolism, cellular processes and mitochondrial function.6 The extract essentially reprograms the cancer cell to act like a normal, healthy cell.

Walnuts boost the gut microbiome

In a completely different kind of study, researchers examined the effects of whole walnut consumption on tumors in a mouse model. They fed the mice walnuts in addition to a Total Western Diet (TWD), a scientific standard that mimics the average diet of people in North America and Europe.7

They discovered a significant reduction in tumor numbers in mice fed a TWD containing 7% walnuts (10.5% of total fat intake). They also discovered that more was not necessarily better, suggesting there’s an optimal level of dietary walnut intake for fighting colon cancer.8

According to the study, “since components of the Mediterranean diet have been shown to affect the gut microbiome, the effects of walnuts were therefore tested” in the microbiomes of the mice.

The researchers found the walnuts increased the level of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They concluded that “walnuts afford partial protection to the colon against a potent carcinogenic insult, and this may be due, in part, to walnut-induced changes to the gut microbiome.”9

Soothe cancer-causing inflammation

Chronic inflammation is deeply involved in almost all chronic diseases, including cancer. It figures as both a cause and an effect. Millions of us are on a merry-go-round where we’re sick because we have too much inflammation and we have too much inflammation because we’re sick.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated habitual nut consumption in two large groups of US men and women as it related to inflammatory biomarkers often used by doctors (C-reactive protein or CRP).

They found that a greater intake of nuts was associated with lower amounts of CRP. This held true after being adjusted for demographic, medical, dietary and lifestyle variables.

In addition to that, the researchers discovered substituting three servings of nuts per week for three servings of red meat, processed meat, eggs or refined grains significantly lowered the level of CRP.10

To beat cancer, go nuts!

One thing to note is that peanuts and peanut butter do not make the list. Peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts. In the above-mentioned studies peanuts showed no benefit against cancer.

While walnuts show a particularly high level of chemopreventive action, any kind of tree nut will be good for your health. In addition to the ones I mentioned earlier, you can also choose from hazelnuts, pine nuts and pistachios.

Enjoy these in moderation, either alone or mixed with dried fruit in your own trail mix. Nut butters are also a great way to get your nut fix. I like almond butter and cashew butter. Many health food stores now carry freshly ground nut butters.

It’s always better to go raw rather than roasted and salted because cooking destroys some of the volatile oils in nuts. I like raw nuts, and I don’t miss the salty roasted ones. Commercially roasted nuts often use inflammatory vegetable oils.

Overall, nuts continue to be a staple of a healthy, cancer-fighting diet. Enjoy them regularly.

Our last issue brought things up to date on a cancer treatment I consider one of the ten most important. If you missed it, it’s running again just below.

Best regards,

Lee Euler,
Publisher

References:
1 Key statistics for colorectal cancer.
2 Tree nuts may lower risk of colon cancer recurrence, death
3 Nut consumption and survival in stage III colon cancer patients: Results from CALGB 89803 (Alliance).
4 Nut consumption and age-related disease.
5 Walnut phenolic extracts induced metabolic reprogramming in colon cancer stem cells by reinforcing the mitochondrial function: From RNA-seq to mitochondrial stress test.
6 Walnut substantially alters the DNA methylation profile in colon cancer stem cells.
7 Formulation of the Total Western Diet (TWD) as a basal diet for rodent cancer studies.
8 Effects of walnut consumption on colon carcinogenesis and microbial community structure.
9 Ibid.
10 Associations between nut consumption and inflammatory biomarkers.
About the author

Lee Euler

Hi I'm Lee Euler, I’ve spent over a decade investigating every possible way a person can beat cancer. In fact, our commitment to defeating cancer has made us the world’s #1 publisher of information about Alternative Cancer Treatments -- with over 20 books and 700 newsletters on the subject. If you haven't heard about all your cancer options, or if you want to make sure you don’t miss even one answer to this terrible disease, then join our newsletter. When you do, I'll keep you informed each week about the hundreds of alternative cancer treatments that people are using to cure cancer all over the world.

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