Nuts and Cancer
Nuts may be considered a cancer superfood because they contain additive and/or synergistic properties that contribute to reduced cancer risk.
Nuts are a rich source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, tocopherols, antioxidant polyphenols, fiber, prebiotics, vegetable protein, minerals, and vitamins. The fiber and prebiotics can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria gut microbiome.[i]
A human genetic study of women with breast cancer found consuming 2 oz (60 grams) of walnuts a day for 2 weeks improved 456 cancer prevention and cancer growth genetic pathways. Analysis of the data showed activation of pathways that promote apoptosis (normal cancer cell death), helped keep cancer cells in place and inhibited the pathways that promote activation of pathways that promote proliferation and migration. In summary walnut consumption could suppress growth and survival of breast cancer cells.[iv]
Nuts and Reduced Cancer Risks
One study evaluating medical studies until March 2020 found people who consumed the highest number of nuts have a 14% lower risk of developing cancer. This same study found a 5 gram per day increase of total nut intake was associated with 3% lower risk of all cancers, 6% reduced risk of pancreatic cancer and 25% lower risk of colon cancer.
And the study found a higher intake of tree nuts is associated with a 18% reduced risk of cancer mortality.[v]
A different study evaluating 89 medical research articles found 28 grams (1 oz) of nuts each day reduces the risk of cancer deaths by 11% and a 22% reduction in all causes of death including cardiovascular disease.[vi]
Nuts and Reduced Risk of Cancer Death
This data is backed up with another study that found higher nut consumption reduces the risk of cancer by 10% and a provides a 12% lower risk of dying from cancer, compared to those who consume the lowest number of nuts.[vii]
Medical research found higher nut consumption is associated with better survival and disease-free survival among long-term breast cancer survivors.[viii]
A daily intake of total nuts of 1oz/28 grams/day is associated with a 21% reduced risk of cancer mortality. There is some evidence with colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer that frequent nut consumption is associated with improved survival outcomes.[ix]
Nut consumption is associated with reduced risk of cancer metastasis.[x]
Nuts associated with reduced risk of cancers include:
Frequent nut consumption is associated with reduced risk of:
Brazil nuts are uniquely high in selenium. Higher intake of dietary selenium is associated with a reduced risk of several cancers that I have listed below.
Research shows Brazil nuts in combination with other tree nuts reduce the risk of many cancers. One study found each 20 gram increase of tree nuts decreases the risk of cancer by 10%. I didn’t find specific Brazil nut cancer risk research. Research shows humans consuming Brazil nuts lowers several markers in the body related to cancer.
A few Brazil nuts with other tree nuts, for a total of 1 Palm’s worth, is an important part of my Cancer Food Tactics Pyramid. You get a copy of my pyramid when you download free eReports in my learning center on my website.
Higher selenium intake is associated with the reduced risk of:
Nuts – Should we refrigerate?
Storing nuts at room temperature allows faster oxidation (damage) to the beneficial oils, fats, and antioxidant phenols, compared to refrigerating them. So, if you buy nuts in bulk like Jeff and I do, it’s better to refrigerate them.
Don’t Eat These 5 Nuts!
If you’ve seen my posts, read my Nuts and Cancer Blog, or downloaded my Cancer Food Tactics you know I’m a big fan of nuts. They are packed full of anti-cancer ingredients, fiber, and protein. I enjoy a palm’s worth, according to my Palm Rule for Cancer Foods eReport most days for a snack. Just 1 oz 30 grams of nuts a day is associated with a 21% reduced risk of dying from cancer.
But I do have a concern about a few nuts. acorns, chestnuts, and tamarind are too high in their glycemic index and glycemic load. That means if you eat a palm’s worth, your blood glucose could go a little high for my Pulsed Metabolic Cancer Tactics™.
Chewing betel and areca nuts are very well known to increase the risk for oral cancers.
Roasting is often done to enhance color flavor and crunchiness. Roasting may lead to a decrease in the antioxidant levels of some nuts like walnuts and hazelnuts. But pistachio and almond nuts may keep their antioxidant levels through the dry roasting process.[xxv] [xxvi]
Raw nuts are typically the best option. Dry roasted nuts are your best option. Less expensive roasted nuts are often deep fried. If you see other oils and fats listed on the ingredients label, they may have been fried. I avoid fried nuts. Unsalted nuts are a better option as some cancer research suggests a high salt diet may increase the risk of gastric cancer.
Peanuts are not really nuts. They are legumes. Peanuts and legumes reduce the risk of cancer. Nut butters without added sugars are a great way to increase your protein and nut consumption.
How many nuts?
I enjoy a 1 Palm worth, according to the Palm Rule for Cancer Foods most days. Brazil nuts have a lot of selenium, an anticancer mineral, so I typically enjoy 2 daily with my other nuts. An excessive quantity of nuts may provide too many calories and cause body fat gain. Body fat increases inflammation and risks of cancers.
Improperly stored and processed nuts may be a source of Alfatoxins. Aflatoxin consumption increases the risk of liver cancer.[xxix] Don’ consume nuts that have mold or dark stains on them.
Cancer Prevention is Cancer Treatment™️
Reference Sources Include
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[ii] Hadi A, Asbaghi O, Kazemi M, Khadem Haghighian H, Ghaedi E. Effects of pistachios on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2023;129(10):1693-1702. doi:10.1017/S0007114522002100
[iii] Fan N, Fusco JL, Rosenberg DW. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Walnut Constituents: Focus on Personalized Cancer Prevention and the Microbiome. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023;12(5):982. Published 2023 Apr 22. doi:10.3390/antiox12050982 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10215340/
[iv] Hardman WE, Primerano DA, Legenza MT, Morgan J, Fan J, Denvir J. Dietary walnut altered gene expressions related to tumor growth, survival, and metastasis in breast cancer patients: a pilot clinical trial. Nutr Res. 2019;66:82-94. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2019.03.004 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6853029/
[v] Naghshi S, Sadeghian M, Nasiri M, Mobarak S, Asadi M, Sadeghi O. Association of Total Nut, Tree Nut, Peanut, and Peanut Butter Consumption with Cancer Incidence and Mortality: A Comprehensive Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. Adv Nutr. 2021;12(3):793-808. doi:10.1093/advances/nmaa152 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8166551/
[vi] Balakrishna R, Bjørnerud T, Bemanian M, Aune D, Fadnes LT. Consumption of Nuts and Seeds and Health Outcomes Including Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Metabolic Disease, Cancer, and Mortality: An Umbrella Review. Adv Nutr. 2022;13(6):2136-2148. doi:10.1093/advances/nmac077 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9776667/
[vii] Cao C, Gan X, He Y, et al. Association between nut consumption and cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Nutr Cancer. 2023;75(1):82-94. doi:10.1080/01635581.2022.2104880 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2022.2104880
[viii] Huang MC, Huang TT, Feng HC, Chen IC, Chang CI, Wang TN, Kuo WH, Wang MY, Tsai LW, Li SY, Huang CS, Lu YS, Lin CH. Lifestyle Factors and Energy Intakes with Risks of Breast Cancer among Pre- and Post- Menopausal Women in Taiwan. Nutrients. 2023 Sep 7;15(18):3900. doi: 10.3390/nu15183900. PMID: 37764684; PMCID: PMC10534793.
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[xi] Soriano-Hernandez AD, Madrigal-Perez DG, Galvan-Salazar HR, et al. The protective effect of peanut, walnut, and almond consumption on the development of breast cancer. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2015;80(2):89-92. doi:10.1159/000369997
[xii] Glei M, Ludwig D, Lamberty J, Fischer S, Lorkowski S, Schlörmann W. Chemopreventive Potential of Raw and Roasted Pistachios Regarding Colon Carcinogenesis. Nutrients. 2017;9(12):1368. Published 2017 Dec 18. doi:10.3390/nu9121368
[xiii] Fan N, Fusco JL, Rosenberg DW. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Walnut Constituents: Focus on Personalized Cancer Prevention and the Microbiome. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023;12(5):982. Published 2023 Apr 22. doi:10.3390/antiox12050982 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10215340/
[xiv] Park SK, Oh CM, Ryoo JH, Jung JY. The protective effect of peanuts, pine nuts and almonds on gastric intestinal metaplasia in Korean men. Nutr Bull. 2022;47(2):208-216. doi:10.1111/nbu.12555
[xv] Hu Y, McIntosh GH, Le Leu RK, et al. Supplementation with Brazil nuts and green tea extract regulates targeted biomarkers related to colorectal cancer risk in humans. Br J Nutr. 2016;116(11):1901-1911. doi:10.1017/S0007114516003937 https://www.eurekaselect.com/article/71914
[xvi] Soriano-Hernandez AD, Madrigal-Perez DG, Galvan-Salazar HR, et al. The protective effect of peanut, walnut, and almond consumption on the development of breast cancer. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2015;80(2):89-92. doi:10.1159/000369997
[xvii] Wang C, Gu K, et al., Nut consumption in association with overall mortality and recurrence/disease-specific mortality among long-term breast cancer survivors. Int J Cancer. 2022 Feb 15;150(4):572-579 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/ijc.33824#:~:text=This%20large%20cohort%20study%20found%20that%20nut%20consumption,cancer%20than%20those%20with%20stage%20III-IV%20breast%20cancer.
[xviii] Fan N, Fusco JL, Rosenberg DW. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Walnut Constituents: Focus on Personalized Cancer Prevention and the Microbiome. Antioxidants (Basel). 2023 Apr 22;12(5):982. doi: 10.3390/antiox12050982. PMID: 37237848; PMCID: PMC10215340. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10215340/
[xix] Lee J, Shin A, Oh JH, Kim J. The relationship between nut intake and risk of colorectal cancer: a case control study. Nutr J. 2018;17(1):37. Published 2018 Mar 7. doi:10.1186/s12937-018-0345-y
[xx] Cao C, Gan X, He Y, et al. Association between nut consumption and cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Nutr Cancer. 2023;75(1):82-94. doi:10.1080/01635581.2022.2104880 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2022.2104880
[xxi] Qin X, Chen J, Jia G, Yang Z. Dietary Factors and Pancreatic Cancer Risk: An Umbrella Review of Meta-Analyses of Prospective Observational Studies. Adv Nutr. 2023;14(3):451-464. doi:10.1016/j.advnut.2023.02.004 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10201674/
[xxii] Ziouziou I, Touzani AM, Lahlou L, et al. Association of Prostate Cancer with Nuts, Seeds, Alcohol and Processed Meats: A Worldwide Population-Based Study. Nutr Cancer. 2021;73(11-12):2538-2545. doi:10.1080/01635581.2020.1841250 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635581.2020.1841250
[xxiii] Teng C, Zheng S, Wan W, et al. Fatty foods and the risk of bladder cancer: A case-control study. Nutrition. 2023;106:111868. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2022.111868 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899900722002817?via%3Dihub
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[xxvi] Ojeda-Amador R.M., Trapani S., Fregapane G., Salvador M.D. Phenolics, tocopherols, and volatiles changes during virgin pistachio oil processing under different technological conditions. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 2018;120:180–221. doi: 10.1002/ejlt.201800221.
[xxvii] Barsouk A, Aluru JS, Rawla P, Saginala K, Barsouk A. Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and Prevention of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Med Sci (Basel). 2023 Jun 13;11(2):42. doi: 10.3390/medsci11020042. PMID: 37367741; PMCID: PMC10304137. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10304137/
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[xxix] Dini A, Esmaeili Nadimi A, Behmaram K. The Effect of Monitoring System on Risk Assessment of Aflatoxins in Iran's Pistachio Nuts Exported to the E.U. During 2012 - 2018. Iran J Pharm Res. 2022;21(1):e123951. Published 2022 Apr 5. doi:10.5812/ijpr.123951
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