When you’re searching for a healthy snack, would you be more likely to choose a piece of fruit… some crunchy popcorn… or a handful of nuts?
Believe it or not, the nuts may be your best choice—especially if you’re looking for natural ways to keep cancer at bay. It seems like every week there’s more good news about nuts. Keep reading to get the latest. . .
Recent research points to regular nut consumption as a factor in lowering risk of pancreatic cancer in women.
Results reported in the British Journal of Cancer came from a team of Harvard researchers examining data from the long-running Nurses’ Health Study.
The investigation followed more than 75,600 women and found that those who ate at least one ounce of tree nuts two or more times a week had a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer when compared to study participants who did not include nuts in their diet.
And if you’re wondering whether a certain type of nut is better than others—you’ll be happy to know the health benefits were tied to several kinds, including:
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
Could the lower risk
be tied to other factors?
Lead study author Ying, Bao, MD, ScD from the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA said in a statement that “the reduction in risk was independent of established or suspected risk factors for pancreatic cancer including age, height, obesity, physical activity, smoking, diabetes and dietary factors.”
Dr. Bao’s team took painstaking efforts to represent participants’ long-term diet by calculating the cumulative average of nut consumption.
Because people often change their diets after being diagnosed with a major illness, the investigators stopped updating all dietary variables when participants reported a diagnosis of stroke, heart disease, angina, or cancer.
The investigators also conducted several types of sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of the study results.
For example, the researchers excluded participants who had ever smoked. To minimize possible effects of a high or low body-mass index (BMI), they also omitted anyone with a BMI of less than 18.5 or more than 40.
The team began tracking the women in 1980 and followed up every four years through 2010.
In addition to the decreased risk of pancreatic cancer, the study also demonstrated that women who included nuts in their diet tended to weigh less than those who avoided them—despite the high fat content!
This is important, because the most common objection to nuts is their high fat content. Regular readers of this newsletter know the fats found in nuts are good for you. (See Issue #328 for more.)
As always, let me repeat that no one food or supplement is a “miracle cure” for cancer. Nuts are one of a wide range of cancer-fighting foods you want in your life. This recent study is especially exciting because it shows nuts help you fight one of the most dreaded types of cancer. . .
Here’s why you should be concerned about
having a healthy pancreas…
Your pancreas is an organ that sits behind your stomach. It serves two main functions:
- To produce digestive enzymes, and
- To produce and release insulin, the hormone that helps get sugar from your blood into your cells
It’s easy to see how problems with your pancreas could cause problems with digesting different foods… difficulty in stabilizing blood sugar levels… unintended weight loss… and a variety of other problems.
And any problem with the pancreas is a matter of life and death. You can’t survive without it.
According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, more than 45,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013 (the final figure isn’t in yet). About 38,000 people die each year from the disease. In fact, very few people survive this type of cancer. Unlike, say, breast cancer and prostate cancer – which even the bunglers in conventional medicine can often cure if they catch it early enough – pancreatic cancer is widely seen as a death sentence.
As with any type of cancer, your diet and lifestyle will influence pancreatic cancer development and progression.
But the new study suggests that including nuts as part of an overall healthy diet may be a simple and tasty way to reduce your pancreatic cancer risk.
So what makes nuts such an awesome
Researchers aren’t completely sure why nuts fight cancer and boost health. But what they do know is that nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and plenty of other disease fighting nutrients. Consider these examples:
- Almonds—provide the richest source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant to help fight cell-damaging free radicals that are linked to cancer.
- Brazil nuts—pack more than 100 percent of the daily value for the mineral selenium, which may help prevent bone, prostate, breast cancer and other cancers, according to the National Institutes of Health.
- Macadamia nuts—contain the greatest amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats per serving. The fats in these nuts are ‘good fats’ that lower LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure.
- Peanuts—Technically a legume rather than a nut, peanuts have a high folate content—a mineral essential for brain development and protection against cognitive decline.
- Pistachios— rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a type of cancer-fighting vitamin E; University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers found that eating two ounces of pistachios daily may reduce lung cancer risk.
- Walnuts—rich in vitamin E and also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation.
So why not grab a handful of your favorite type of nut to snack on today? Far from being a diet disaster—this delicious treat is sure to provide a healthy dose of cancer-fighting nutrients!
I always recommend eating raw nuts rather roasted and salted nuts. Cooking destroys some of the nutritional value, and the oils added for roasting are often NOT healthy fats. But this study didn’t take note of the difference, so apparently even roasted nuts confer some protection against cancer. No doubt most of the participants in the study ate roasted and salted nuts because that’s what most people eat.
We’ve been on a roll this month when it comes to finding exciting new natural cancer remedies. One of the best was featured in our last issue. If you missed it, please scroll down and check it out now.
This bitter fruit is having sweet
success against cancer!
When it comes to natural remedies, it seems that ancient Oriental medicine often has a leg up on Western medical practitioners.
This holds true when it comes to the plant called bitter melon, which is especially popular among Japanese living in Okinawa.
Based on the many health benefits it brings—perhaps it’s no coincidence that folks on this Japanese island live longer than almost anyone else on the planet. Keep reading and discover the benefits of this natural remedy. . .
Bitter melon is commonly found in Asia, the Caribbean, East Africa, and South America.
It has a green, bumpy outer skin and looks like a type of squash. A bitter melon that isn’t fully ripe can produce an unpleasant taste.
But what the fruit lacks in looks and flavor it makes up in its healing powers.
Bitter melon has long been prepared as an herbal remedy for use in traditional Asian medicine. According to the Philippine Department of Health, the fruit can be used to treat:
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Diarrhea and other stomach problems
- Respiratory problems
- Skin eruptions
Filipinos often grind bitter melon leaves and seeds into a juice to drink for various stomach problems. They also use warmed bitter melon leaves as a topical treatment for burns or cuts.
Recently, U.S. medical practitioners have begun to embrace the antiviral, antioxidant and anti-diabetes health benefits this plant provides.
For example, information from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Research Center shows bitter melon contains compounds that help your cells absorb and process glucose—just as insulin naturally does.
This could prove to be a health bonanza for the thousands of people dealing with blood sugar imbalances such as type II diabetes.
But scientists are most excited about recent research that shows the plant may be a powerful natural cancer cure.
Pancreatic cancer gets a smack down!
A team of researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center bought a Chinese variety of bitter melons from a local grocery store. They used a regular juicer to remove the pulp and seeds, then tested some of the remaining juice directly on cell cultures.
Bitter melon juice—diluted to just five percent in water—was amazingly effective at reducing the viability of all four pancreatic cancer cell lines tested!
After just 72 hours of treatment, the bitter melon juice reduced the viability of BxPC-3 and MiaPaCa-2 cancer cells by a whopping 98 percent!
It was almost as efficient against the AsPC-1and Capan-2 cancer cell lines, reducing their viability by 90 percent.
Researchers found that bitter melon juice launched a two-pronged attack by:
- Inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis) along several different pathways, and
- Starving cancer cells of the sugar they need to survive.
But the researchers didn’t stop with testing the juice on cells in a Petri dish…
Mouse tumors shrank
a whopping 64 percent!
The investigators also implanted mice with MiaPaCa-2 human pancreatic cancer cells to test the effectiveness of the juice in vivo (that is, on live subjects).
For six weeks, they fed half of the mice five milligrams daily of freeze dried bitter melon powder. The researchers were amazed to find that the mice fed with juice powder had pancreatic tumors 64 percent smaller than the untreated mice—with no visible side effects!
What’s more, these results are similar to those achieved with the most popular chemo drug used to treat pancreatic cancer.
In a different study using the same type of animal and cancer cells lines, the chemo drug reduced tumor growth by 52 percent after 18 days.
But pancreatic cancer isn’t the only type of cancer that bitter melon is able to clobber…
Bitter melon blows away breast cancer
Ratna B. Ray, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pathology at Saint Louis University, is convinced that bitter melon extract “can be utilized as a dietary supplement for the prevention of breast cancer.”
In the 2010 study published in Cancer Research, Dr. Ray’s team conducted in vitro experiments using the extract on breast cancer cells and primary human mammary epithelial cells.
The researchers found that bitter melon significantly slowed cell growth and division. What’s more, they found that the extract also caused breast cancer cells to self-destruct.
According to a Science Daily report, the researchers are using several cancer cell lines to conduct follow-up studies to examine how the extract discourages cancer cell proliferation.
They also plan to conduct a preclinical trial to evaluate how well it performs when administered orally.
But one way to enjoy the health benefits of bitter melon is to eat it! Many people around the globe enjoy the fruit with meals, although it may be an acquired taste for people who aren’t used to it.
The ripe fruit has a sweet flavor that you may enjoy. But if you’re not sure you want to add bitter melon to your meals—it’s also available in the U.S. and many other countries as a supplement.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before using bitter melon, especially if you have diabetes. Its natural ability to moderate blood sugar may interact negatively with diabetes medications. But that’s true of nearly all natural remedies for high blood sugar. Used correctly, they reduce your need for drugs, often to zero. But you have to monitor the process to make sure your blood sugar doesn’t plummet too low.
And with proper use, you may find that bitter melon is a safe and effective way to enjoy sweet success against cancer!