The nut that stops colon cancer

Colon cancer is so prevalent that more than 250 Americans are diagnosed with it every day. It’s one of the worst types of cancer in one of the worst places… But you can fight the risk with the right food.

In fact, eating the right type of nut – the walnut – can help you fight the development of colon tumors.

Lab tests at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School shows that eating walnuts is likely to slow the inflammation that is linked to tumor growth. The nuts, say researchers, contain important fatty acids and other natural substances that slow down the destructive growth of cancer cells. These nutrients change the behavior of the cancer cells’ miRNAs, compounds that influence inflammation.

“Our research demonstrates that a walnut diet causes significant changes in the expression profile of miRNAs in localized colorectal cancer tissue, and that a walnut diet incorporates protective fatty acids in the colonic tumor either through its direct effects or through additive or synergistic effects of multiple other compounds present in walnuts,” says researcher Christos Mantzoros. “While future studies are needed, we’re optimistic of the role of miRNAs as biomarkers of disease and prognosis, and may demonstrate a potential therapeutic target for colorectal cancer treatment.”

The lab experiments showed that tumors in animals fed walnuts contained 10 times the amount of omega-3 fats as the cells in those who didn’t eat walnuts. Those omega-3s, which included a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), restrained the size and growth of the tumors.

If you’re concerned about nuts having too much “fat,” you should know that nuts have healthy fats. Walnuts for example contain much more of the omega-3 ALA than other nuts, and this type of fat is known to curtail inflammation. It is also considered an “essential” fatty acid, because your body cannot make it, so you have to ingest it.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.