An abundant source of antioxidants, walnuts are a good source of protein, fiber, and alpha linoleic acid – a  plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Researchers from the University of California Davis (California, USA), fed mice either whole walnuts (equivalent of 2.6 ounces for humans), walnut oil or a walnut-like fat for 18 weeks. Both the walnuts and walnut oil slowed prostate cancer growth in mice.  Notably, walnuts and walnut oil increased MSMB mRNA a tumor suppressor and decreased COX-2 mRNA, both reported to inhibit prostate tumor growth.  In addition, both walnuts and walnut oil reduced cholesterol and increased insulin sensitivity.

Researchers at UC Davis and other institutions have found that diets rich in whole walnuts or walnut oil slowed prostate cancer growth in mice. In addition, both walnuts and walnut oil reduced cholesterol and increased insulin sensitivity. The walnut diet also reduced levels of the hormone IGF-1, which had been previously implicated in both prostate and breast cancer.

“For years, the United States government has been on a crusade against fat, and I think it’s been to our detriment,” said lead scientist and research nutritionist. “Walnuts are a perfect example. While they are high in fat, their fat does not drive prostate cancer growth. In fact, walnuts do just the opposite when fed to mice.”

Researchers have been investigating the impact of walnuts on health for some time. A previous study found that walnuts reduced prostate tumor size in mice; however, there were questions about which parts of the nuts generated these benefits. Was it the meat, the oil or the omega-3 fatty acids? If it was the omega-3 fats, the benefit might not be unique to walnuts. Since the fatty acid profile for the soybean oil used as a control was similar, but not identical, to walnuts, more work had to be done.

In the current study, researchers used a mixture of fats with virtually the same fatty acid content as walnuts as their control diet. The mice were fed whole walnuts, walnut oil or the walnut-like fat for 18 weeks. The results replicated those from the previous study. While the walnuts and walnut oil reduced cholesterol and slowed prostate cancer growth, in contrast, the walnut-like fat did not have these effects, confirming that other nut components caused the improvements – not the omega-3s.

We showed that it’s not the omega-3s by themselves, though, it could be a combination of the omega-3s with whatever else is in the walnut oil,” “It’s becoming increasingly clear in nutrition that it’s never going to be just one thing; it’s always a combination.”

“The energy effects from decreasing IGF-1 seem to muck up the works so the cancer can’t grow as fast as it normally would,” “Also, reducing cholesterol means cancer cells may not get enough of it to allow these cells to grow quickly.”

In addition, the research showed increases in both adiponectin and the tumor suppressor PSP94, as well as reduced levels of COX-2, all markers for reduced prostate cancer risk.

“In our study the mice were eating the equivalent of 2.6 ounces of walnuts,” he said. “You need to realize that 2.6 ounces of walnuts is about 482 calories. That’s not insignificant, but it’s better than eating a serving of supersized fries, which has 610 calories. In addition to the cancer benefit, we think you also get cardiovascular benefits that other walnut research has demonstrated.

Journal of Medicinal Food

Dr. Keith & Laurie Nemec’s comments on “Walnuts Stop Cancer and Reduce Cholesterol”

As Hippocrates said “Let your food be your medicine”. Research like this excites us knowing that God put what we needed to stay healthy in the food we eat if we would only eat enough of it and and in the right form. What form is that? Living or raw! Do not cook or you kill the enzymes and denature the proteins and oxidize the fats and make a very healthy food become a very unhealthy one.

What is eye opening about this study is that it was not the omega 3 fatty acids that stopped the cancer but something else in the walnut or a combination of various phytochemicals unique to walnuts that did the job. What does this mean to you? Eat real food! You can take supplements but not at the expense of thinking your okay not to eat the real food also.

Over the last 30 years of seeing patients from time to time a patient would ask be about dry roasted nuts. These are cooked, killed, denatured and not even in the category of a health promoting nut. Once you apply heat you not only destroy all the health benefits but now it becomes a toxin to the body. This is the same principle with glycemic index and food. A raw white potato has a glycemic index of about 25 whereas a cooked potato jumps to100 which is inflammation producing. The raw potatoe has enzymes and phytochemicals that are destroyed with the cooking process and leaves too much sugar as a byproduct.

Take home message is that raw seeds and nuts have many health benefits besides their listed vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acid content. The “secret sauce” is usually found in the unique phytochemicals produced by that plant. These health benefits are only available when the food is uncooked.