A few walnuts a day might help fight colon cancer, according to new rodent research. A team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine found that the effect was most pronounced in male mice that ate walnuts; they had more than two times fewer tumors than mice that didn’t eat the nuts. Their walnut intake was equivalent to a person eating about an ounce of walnuts a day.
"Our results show for the first time that walnut consumption may reduce colon tumor development," principal investigator Daniel W. Rosenberg, PhD, cancer researcher and professor of medicine at UConn Health, said in a university release. "There is accumulating evidence that eating walnuts may offer a variety of benefits related to health issues like cancer. This study shows that walnuts may also act as a probiotic to make the colon healthy, which in turn offers protection against colon tumors."
The researchers believe that the nuts help change the gut microbiome into a less cancer-friendly place. How? The scientists aren’t exactly sure. One idea is based on previous research that’s shown that some gut bacteria digest fiber into compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that might inhibit tumors from starting to grow. The research was published in Cancer Prevention.
Notoriously resistant to treatment, colon cancer kills nearly 50,000 Americans every year, according to the American Cancer Society. Research published recently in the journal Cancer Cell found that vitamin A may help fight off the disease