Did you know…that walnuts health benefits may help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but also breast cancer?
Stephen G. Pratt, author of SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, ranked walnuts as one of the top 14 “superfoods” for their superior ability to promote well-being, improve overall health and ensure greater longevity.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of walnuts health benefits protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease…diabetes…and cancer, particularly prostate and breast cancer.
The Crème de la Crème of Nuts
All nuts are fortified with a unique combination of nutritional properties: These protein-packed food items contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and are naturally dairy- and gluten-free.
But walnuts are the crème de la crème. Joe Vinson of the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania confirms, “A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as many antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut.”
Antioxidants: Cancer-Fighting Warriors
Antioxidants are free-radical scavengers, helping to prevent oxidative damage, which is a major cause of cancer.
Walnuts health benefits contain several antioxidants, such as melatonin and quinone juglone, that cannot be found in other nuts. Russel Reiter, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, says, “Walnuts contain melatonin that is absorbed when it is eaten, and that improves our ability to resist oxidative stress caused by toxic molecules called free radicals.”
Research has shown that the highly potent phytonutrient quinone juglone, also abundant in walnuts health benefits, destroys cancer and precancerous cells while leaving healthy tissue intact.
Walnuts are also high in vitamin E—but not the common form of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol). Walnuts are packed with the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E, which provides enhanced antioxidant activity and significantly reduces the risk of heart disease and its symptoms.
The Essential Nutrient: Omega-3
Walnuts health benefits are not only rich in antioxidants, but they are also replete with the essential fatty acid, Omega-3.
Omega-3 is “essential” because our bodies need this polysaturated fat in order to function properly. There are new studies published almost weekly that attest to recently discovered benefits of omega-3.
Omega-3 has been proven to…
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
- Decrease symptoms of diabetes and stroke
- Relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis
- Soothe arthritis and other inflammatory conditions
- Protect against mental decline
- Alleviate depression and other mental illnesses
- Prevent cardiovascular disease
Walnuts: Powerful Enough to Be Regarded as Drugs?
In yet another attempt to suppress our health freedom, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to Diamond Foods stating that their claims for the health-promoting qualities of walnuts—which are all substantiated—have moved walnuts from a food to a drug!
The Role of Walnuts Health Benefits in Preventing and Treating Cancer
The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3, when combined with the lower risk of oxidative stress ensured by antioxidants, help prevent and treat prostate and breast cancer.
Scientists have discovered that when cancer cells are subjected to omega-3, cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction) increases. Omega-3 also inhibits an anti-inflammatory enzyme that advances breast cancer, and activates two genes—BRCA1 and BRC2 (breast cancer genes 1 and 2)—that help prevent cancer development.
Our bodies do not produce omega-3, but depend on the food we eat for this essential nutrient. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is lacking in omega-3 rich foods. Cold-water fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel are abundant sources of omega-3, but the rise of mercury content in both farm-raised and wild fish make fish consumption a potentially dangerous option.
Fortunately, walnuts are a plentiful, healthful and entirely safe source of omega-3. In fact, 1 oz of walnuts delivers a whooping 2.8 grams of omega-3 compared to 4 oz of salmon, which delivers only 2.2 grams of the nutrient.
Dieters wary of the high fat content of walnuts shouldn’t be discouraged. Seven walnuts a day—weighing in at 18.3 grams of mostly the good kind of fat (monounsaturated fat)—is all it takes to benefit from the nut’s numerous health benefits.
Walnuts consumed in whole form, skin and all, provide the most nutritional benefit. The taste may be slightly bitter, but when you consider that 90% of the nutrients are in the skin, every bite becomes more palatable.