Finding solutions for heart disease and
prostate cancer in a nutshell
Finding an excuse to eat walnuts every day is not hard…starting, of course, with the fact that they’re delicious. But, it turns out, the benefits of eating walnuts go way beyond pleasing your palette.
Studies have shown that these tasty nuts are good for your heart since they help improve blood vessel elasticity and help prevent plaque accumulation. They also help lower C-reactive protein, the independent inflammation marker that’s gaining acceptance as a marker of heart diseases.
But according to a study presented at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), walnuts could also be able to fight prostate cancer.
Researchers added walnuts to the diet of mice that had been programmed to develop prostate cancer. After two months of eating the equivalent of 14 shelled nuts per day, the walnut-eating mice developed cancers that were 50 percent smaller, and that grew 30 percent slower than those mice who didn’t eat the walnuts.
These positive results could be due to the fact that walnuts can help reduce the levels of two risk factors for prostate cancer: elevated levels of endothelin and low levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).
Prostate cancer patients are known to have elevated levels of endothelin, a substance known to increase the inflammation of blood vessels. One study found that eating walnuts can lower the level of endothelin in the blood. The study reported at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society demonstrated the real-life benefit of lowering those endothelin levels with walnuts.
From brains to bones
walnuts pack a health wallop
Brain booster: The high omega-3 content of walnuts makes them the perfect brain-boosting snack. Because your brain is primarily made up of structural fat, you need the omega-3 fat that you get from sources like walnuts, flaxseed, and cold-water fish in order to help support healthy function.
Sleep solution: Not many people know this, but walnuts have a bio-available form of melatonin, the hormone that’s involved in regulating sleep. According to a study published in Nutrition, eating walnuts can triple your blood level of melatonin.
Bone breakthrough: Walnuts contain alpha linolenic acid, a specific type of omega-3 fat that helps reduce bone loss. In fact, a small study of just 10 adults, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, showed that eating just four walnuts per day for three weeks significantly boosted the blood levels of ALA. Even more encouraging, the beneficial effects lasted for weeks after the subjects stopped eating the walnuts.
Keep in mind that these nuts are high in calories, so I’d try to stick to 1-2 oz per day. The 14 nuts used in the study fits perfectly into that limit.
One of the best ways to get your ration of walnuts is to put them on your salad. You can buy them by the pound, and if you keep them refrigerated in a plastic bag, they’ll last for years. Of course, if you know what’s good for you, they won’t be around that long!