Study Finds Walnuts May Reduce Risk for Breast Cancer

New findings published in Nutrition and Cancer report that consuming walnuts slowed both the development and growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.  Considering one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in the course of their life(1), these findings are extremely important and provide deeper insight into choices we can make in our lives to help fight cancer and other chronic diseases.  According to Elaine Hardman, Ph.D., professor at Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, who led the research, “We think now that diet can prevent 30 to 60 percent of all cancers.  The healthy diet that we should be eating is what we know is healthy – a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts.  Walnuts can be an important component of that diet.”

Dr. Hardman’s research looked at the effects of a diet containing a modest amount of walnuts – the equivalent of two ounces for humans daily – across the lifespan of the mice.  The study group whose diet included walnuts at both stages (through the mother from conception through weaning and then through eating the food directly) developed breast cancer at less than half the rate of the control group with the corn oil diet.  In addition, the number of tumors and the sizes of the tumors were significantly smaller.  “Using genetic analysis, we found that the walnut-containing diet changed the activity of multiple genes that are relevant to breast cancer in both mice and humans,” said Dr. Hardman.  In previous research with mice, Hardman’s lab found consumption of walnuts slowed the growth of implanted breast cancers.(2)

Dr. Hardman believes that the whole walnut, not just one element of the walnut, provides the benefit against cancer.  “If I tried to strip the walnut apart, I wouldn’t see the same benefit,” states Dr. Hardman.

“We need studies like this that look at the impact of whole foods and not just isolated nutrients.  That’s the way we eat and research suggests that’s the way healthy foods best protect us.  For example, walnuts are a nutrient dense package of protective compounds such as antioxidants, phytosterols and plant-based omega-3 fat that work in harmony,” said Karen Collins, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit www.walnuts.org.

California Walnut Commission

The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers.  The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.

Non-Discrimination Statement

The California Walnut Board (CWB) and California Walnut Commission (CWC) prohibit discrimination in all programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance programs.  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the CWB / CWC offices at (916) 922-5888.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).  CWB/CWC is an equal opportunity employer and provider.

The California Walnut Board and Commission offices are located at 101 Parkshore Dr., Ste. #250, Folsom, CA 95630

(1)http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics.jsp

(2)Suppression of implanted MDA-MB 231 human breast cancer growth in nude mice by dietary walnut. Nutrition and Cancer. 2008 Sept; 60 (5): 666-674