By: Ana Alvarez
Oftentimes, the simplest foods are best for your health, and this is certainly the case for walnuts. Walnuts not only taste great and are an excellent source of those hard to find omega-3 fatty acid but now researchers have found that walnuts may change gut bacteria in a way that suppresses colon cancer.
Researchers led by UConn Health and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine reported that mice that ate 7-10.5 percent of their total calories as walnuts developed fewer colon cancers. Interestingly, male mice showed the greatest decrease in colon tumors when fed walnuts as part of a diet equivalent to a human eating about an ounce of walnuts a day.
Rosenberg, a cancer researcher, and professor of medicine at UConn Health and Dr. Masako Nakanishi tested the cancer prevention qualities of walnuts on two different groups of mice and found that some gut bacteria digest fiber into compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce tumor initiation. “Our results show for the first time that walnut consumption may reduce colon tumor development,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Daniel W. Rosenberg.
Though these studies were made in mice only; more tests need to be done in humans. Rosenberg’s team is already working on a long-term study with humans. In the meantime, Rosenberg is already trying to eat walnuts as part of his everyday diet.