Research indicates that walnuts may confer protective benefits in terms of lessening the risk of men contracting prostate cancer.
The study was conducted by the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. For the research, scientists conducted experiments using prostate cancer-affected mice to see if a walnut-enriched diet offered any protective benefits.
The research results indicated found that only three of 16 mice eating the walnut-enriched diet developed prostate tumors, compared to 14 of 32 mice on the non-walnut control diet. Furthermore, the animals eating walnuts also generally suffered from smaller tumors.
The amount of walnuts fed to the mice was the equivalent to a human eating about 2 ounces, or two handfuls. It should be noted, however, that an apparent effect on mice may not necessarily be reproduced in people.
A walnut is an edible seed of any tree of the genus Juglans. Walnut seeds are a high density source of nutrients, particularly proteins and essential fatty acids. The husks of walnut contain a juice that will readily stain anything it comes into contact with. It has been used as a dye for cloth.
Study co-author Dr Elaine Hardman of the Joan Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University is quoted as saying that: "The data to date suggests that using walnuts on a regular basis in the diet may be beneficial to defer, prevent or delay some types of cancer, including breast and prostate."
The findings have been published in the journal Cancer Investigation. The paper is titled “A Walnut-Enriched Diet Reduces the Growth of LNCaP Human Prostate Cancer Xenografts in Nude Mice.”
Walnuts have reputedly been shown to offer heart health and diabetes management benefits in the past, as well as appearing to lower the risk of breast cancer.