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Walnuts for Colon Health

Walnuts May Help Protect Against Colon Cancer 

Plain and simple: We’re nuts about nuts! Adding nuts to your daily diet has been linked with reduced risk of breast cancer and lower cholesterol levels and walnuts in particular have been shown aid in stress managementNow, 2016 research out of the University of Connecticut Health Center finds walnuts may also help protect your colon from cancer. 

The study, published in Cancer Prevention Research, was broken into two parts. First, scientists fed mice walnuts along with standard diets. Adding the equivalent of about two ounces of walnuts per day resulted in a 1.3-fold reduction in both numbers and volume of colon tumors. Then they repeated the study, but this time used a typical American (fairly unhealthy) diet. Walnut-eaters saw a 2.3-fold reduction in tumor numbers and 1.6-fold reduction in tumor size. Interestingly, the effect was only prominent in males. 

To determine why walnuts were having this healthful effect, researchers looked into what might be going on in the gut microbiome. Findings suggest eating walnuts may help lower levels of bacteria linked with tumor initiation and promote levels of bacteria linked with tumor suppression. 

Walnuts make an excellent addition to your anti-cancer arsenal because they’re a whole food. They’re easy-to-find, taste delicious and are packed with a wide array of beneficial nutrients that together may help in the fight against cancer. In particular, walnuts contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help fight potentially cancerous growths in the colon. Walnuts also pack vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that may inhibit tumor growth. 

Fall is the perfect time to try eating more walnuts as their taste and texture pair beautifully with seasonal foods. Try our Apple and Walnut Salad, a dish that combines the flavors of fall with nutritious DOLE® Salad.

Published October 1, 2016

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