Want To Prevent Breast Cancer? Try This Awesome Snack

November 4, 2010   10 Comments

Can your diet lower your chances of getting cancer? The answer is yes!

Walnuts Prevent Cancer

Just like smoking cigarettes increases your risk of getting cancer, you can potentially decrease your risk by eating certain foods. What are these foods?

Well, I wish I could say cookies, ice cream, and pizza. But, it seems like every study on disease out there points a finger at healthy food and exercise as a way to remain healthy.

Snack Girl was thrilled to interview Dr. Elaine Hardman. Dr. Hardman is a cancer researcher at the Marshall University School of Medicine. She has studied WALNUTS for 15 years. And guess, what? Walnuts helped slow breast cancer growth in mice.

Snack Girl: Your study showed that snack-sized quantities of walnuts slowed breast cancer growth in mice - why would walnuts effect cancer growth?

Dr. Hardman: Walnuts have several ingredients that individually have been shown to slow cancer growth including omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and other antioxidants and phytosterols. Based on the mechanisms for how these ingredients act separately, it is probably that small amounts can act together to be even more effective at slowing cancer.

Snack Girl:These mice already had tumors when you gave them walnuts. Based on your evidence, do you think eating walnuts would help prevent cancer?

Dr. Hardman: I have another study in progress that has a cancer prevention design. I can tell you that the answer is ‘yes’; the results indicate that walnuts can prevent cancer. This publication is ‘in review’ and will be out soon.

Another type of prevention is prevention of recurrence. Since recurrence occurs from a few cancer cells that did not die from the original treatment, the data that indicates slowing of cancer growth would apply to preventing recurrence.

Snack Girl: Recently, a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was told to eat a handful of walnuts every day. Do you think this recommendation is premature?

Dr. Hardman: We never know whether a recommendation will help an individual and there have been no clinical trials to test walnuts against cancer in people. That said, the animal work indicates that there may be benefit from eating walnuts and it certainly will not hurt.

Walnuts as a snack are a much healthier choice than many other snacks. I find when I eat a few walnuts, my munchies are satisfied and I do not keep going back for more as I do when I eat candy or chips.

Snack Girl: Are there any other foods that you would recommend for cancer treatment and prevention?

Dr. Hardman: Scientists think that between 30 and 60% of all cancers could be prevented by diet and lifestyle changes. A healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains (also sources of the antioxidants and phytosterols) and fish (high in omega 3 fatty acids) could reduce risk for cancers.

We are beginning to understand that too many calories, leading to overweight, increases risk for cancer, regardless of the source of the calories so it is important to maintain a healthy weight. No one can (or should) eat just one item; walnuts can be a beneficial part of a healthy diet.

Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?

Dr. Hardman: Stashed in my desk drawer right now are walnuts, I also like to keep dark chocolate to eat with the walnuts. Toasting the walnuts really brings out the flavor but the ones I have now are not toasted.

Thanks, Dr. Hardman!

Please share your favorite way to eat walnuts.

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I love walnuts! As someone who doesn't eat meat, I use nuts in lots of recipes to help give them that 'meaty' texture that we sometimes crave. I buy nuts raw and almost always toast them just before using.

My favorite ways to eat nuts right now is usually just a handful alongside a green smoothie. I also love them toasted on a salad (who needs croutons?) or ground up, mixed with duxelle and baked wrapped in pastry for a delicious and decadent meal.

This is such a great post! Thank you for sharing. Great interview and so much great walnut information. Can't wait to share this with all the walnut lovers!

walnuts and mega fish oil, working for this fifty something chick.

I had homemade walnut butter this morning with an apple and 1/2 banana! It's great to see an emphasis on diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes to reduce risk of health problems. And I like that your interviewee is concerned with not JUST having walnuts, but having variety. That's super important.

Love walnuts! A friend once told me that they are shaped like little brains so they are good for your brain. They've never forgotten that. Sometimes I mix them with a few honey roasted peanuts for my kids. I've searched my local grocery stores for Walnut Butter. Do you know of any? Thanks!

This is exactly the kind of info. I want to hear. Instead of always focusing on the foods that are NOT good for you...I like hearing about foods that ARE good for you. I want to help my body as much as I can!

I love this! I love how you focus on good-for-you stuff, instead of the obvious stuff we should avoid. Amen to that!

Walnuts are one of my go-to healthy snacks and I was also delighted to learn that they help prevent cancer (also prostate cancer!). Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

SG-I have trouble with walnut in that they give me mouth sores. Do other nuts have the same benefits?

I toasted them up the other day with some hot chili powder, sweet paprika, and salt and they were delicious!

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