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Prostate cancer risk drops by adding walnuts to diet

July 19, 2013

Adding foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet has been shown to offer numerous benefits when it comes to healthy aging, and a new study suggests that one food in particular can have a significant impact on men's health. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio discovered that eating walnuts could reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, according to findings published in the journal Cancer Investigation.

The study was based on an analysis of nearly 50 mice on controlled diets. One segment of the animals was fed a walnut-rich diet while the other was not. In the end, about 18 percent of the mice in the walnut cohort developed prostate cancer, compared to 44 percent of the control group. Additionally, the mice in the walnut group that did develop cancer had smaller tumors. Perhaps most encouraging is that the findings suggest that just minor changes to diet could make a big impact. 

"The walnut portion was not a large percentage of the diet," said study senior author Dr. Russel Reiter. "It was the equivalent to a human eating about 2 ounces, or two handfuls, a day, which is not a lot of walnuts." 

Men aren't the only ones who can benefit by adding some walnuts to their diet. In 2011, a Marshall University found that breast cancer risk decreases when women supplement their diets with walnuts.