Here is another solid reason to add walnuts to your daily diet: they may decrease breast cancer risk.
Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia conducted a study to test what the addition of walnuts to the daily diet does to breast cancer risk. Mice with predisposed, increased cancer risk were fed either their normal diet or the equivalent of their diet with 2 ounces of walnuts. Mice with walnuts added to their diet developed breast cancer at half the rate of those that did not have walnuts. The mice that grew tumors anyway, produced tumors at half the rate of those without walnuts.
The study was unclear to determine the exact component of the diet that reduced the cancer risk. In order to increase the walnuts to a 2 ounce equivalent, other fatty foods needed to be reduced from the diet. It is difficult to say if it was the addition of the healthy fat, or the reduction of the unhealthy fat that reduced the risk. Nonetheless, making walnuts a part of the diet has overall benefits.
What is in Walnuts to Help Prevent Cancer?
Walnuts have a few components said to contribute to the reduction of cancer risk:
- Vitamin E: found in nuts and seeds.
- Polyunsaturated fats: found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, help reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood.
- Antioxidants: found in plant products like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds
- Phytosterols: found in plants foods, inhibit the absorption of cholesterol through the intestine
How to Add Walnuts to your Regimen
Remember, this study not only added walnuts to the diet, but reduce the amount of other fats. Eating two ounces of walnuts each day without getting rid of another type of dietary fat (e.g. from dairy, butter, eggs, meat) could increase body weight. Two ounces of walnuts is about 28 walnut halves. How can you enjoy walnuts? Try these ideas to increase your consumption:
- Grab a handful as a snack instead of a salty or sweet snack
- Top your favorite green salad for added crunch
- Chop into small pieces and add to a noodle/chicken salad
- Grind in the food processor and add to a breading
- Grind and add them to “meat” balls
- Create your own trail mix or granola bars
- Try our recipe for roasted cauliflower with walnuts and pickled plum vinaigrette!
Image credit to creative commons user GimmeFood 🙂