Tree Nuts Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Tree nuts are seriously healthy. And they help prevent colon cancer. They also prevent the remission of cancer in colon cancer patients.
Tree nuts are better than peanuts in this regard. When peanuts are compared to tree nuts, tree nuts inhibit cancer the most. Why? Read on to find out.
What are tree nuts?
Tree nuts are distinguished from nuts such as peanuts, which are really legumes. We have discussed how tree nuts have cardiovascular benefits. Popular tree nuts include:
• Brazil nuts
• Macadamia nuts
• Pine nuts
Nuts deter colon cancer remission
Researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute conducted a 2017 study on stage III colon cancer patients. They utilized a questionnaires and cancer history for 826 patients. The study began in 1999 and continued through the years.
Each patient completed a dietary questionnaire after they finished their chemotherapy treatment. This covered their various diet habits. The questionnaire included nut intake because of other research linking nuts to metabolic disease and obesity.
The researchers found those patients who consumed two or more ounces a week of any type of nut experienced a 42 less incidence in their colon cancer recurring.
Those who ate two or more ounces a week of tree nuts in particular experienced a 46 percent reduced incidence of cancer recurring.
This effect was found regardless of other factors, which included age, gender, tumor type and body mass index.
Only 19 percent of the patients ate two or more ounces of nuts a week.
Death from cancer reduced from eating nuts
The researchers also found that those patients who ate two ounces of nuts per week had a 57 percent reduced chance of dying during the period of follow-up.
Depending upon the type and when it is diagnosed, colon cancer five-year survival rates range between 70 and 90 percent.
Tree nut consumption alone reduced the risk of dying during the follow-up period by 53 percent.
Tree nuts versus peanuts
The researchers also analyzed peanut and peanut butter consumption and determined that most of the benefit came from the consumption of tree nuts.
Daniel F. Hayes, MD, one of the study authors, commented on the benefit:
“It should be emphasized that the authors are not suggesting that eating nuts should be considered a substitute for standard chemotherapy and other treatments for colon cancer, which have dramatically improved survival. Rather, patients with colon cancer should be optimistic, and they should eat a healthy diet, including tree nuts, which may not only keep them healthier, but may also further decrease the chances of the cancer coming back.”
Other studies show nuts help prevent colon cancer
A 2014 study from Spain’s University of Castille-La Mancha analyzed data from 145 clinical studies with tens of thousands of people. These included research on the effect of different foods on colorectal cancers.
The data researchers found that frequent consumption of nuts reduced the incidence of cancer among population studies – along with vegetables, brown rice and reduced meat intake.
A 2004 study from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) followed 478,040 people from Europe. They found women who ate the highest amounts of nuts had a 31 percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
A study from Spain’s Catalan Institute of Oncology found nuts exert a “protective effect” against cancer.
Other laboratory studies have made similar conclusions.
Walnuts and cancer
Walnuts in particular have a number of phenolic acids that apparently deter cancer cells. Research from Portugal’s University Fernando Pessoa studied human cancer cells.
They found that walnuts in particular inhibited human kidney cancer cells, human rectal cancer cells and human colon cancer cells. And they found the phenols seemed to have a serious cancer inhibitory effect.
Here are the primary phenolic acids in walnuts:
- Coumaric acid
- Ferulic acid
- Syringic acid
- Vanillic acid
Nuts are serious prebiotics
One of the central reasons for nuts’ ability to inhibit cancer is that they feed and promot healthy gut probiotics. This means that nuts are serious prebiotics.
A 2017 study from Friedrich Schiller University Jena investigated fermented nuts and colon cancer. The reason for this is because nuts become fermented by gut bacteria as they are digested in the gut.
The researchers found the chemicals produced by the nut fermentation significantly inhibited colon cancer cells. Their ability to stop DNA mutations and free radical formation ranged up to four times than normal. These effects together stopped cancer cell growth and killed cancer cells. The researchers concluded:
“The differential modulation of genes involved in detoxification and cell cycle together with an inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in adenoma cells might contribute to chemopreventive effects of nuts regarding colon cancer.”
Friedrich Schiller University scientists also studied fermented nuts in the laboratory in a 2012 study.
Once the nuts were fermented by gut bacteria, the researchers found the nuts produced significant amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are good for the large colon because they help to provide a toxin-free environment to the colon.
The main SCFAs are acetic acid, butyric acid and propionic acid.
Short chain fatty acids are produced by healthy probiotics, but also encourage the growth of more healthy probiotics in the gut.
These healthy probiotics in turn produce healthy enzymes. SCFAs also discourage pathogenic bacteria, which produce enzymes found to cause colon cancer. These relative levels of bacteria determine levels of propionates and butyrates in the gut.
We can safely conclude that simply munching on nuts every day has an incredible effect upon our colon health. It’s simply nuts.
Temidayo Fadelu, Donna Niedzwiecki, Sui Zhang, Xing Ye, Leonard Saltz, Robert J. Mayer, Rex B. Mowat, Renaud Whittom, Alexander Hantel, Al Bowen Benson, Daniel M. Atienza, Michael J. Messino, Hedy L. Kindler, Alan P. Venook, Shuji Ogino, Kimmie Ng, Edward L. Giovannucci, Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Ying Bao, Charles S. Fuchs. Nut consumption and survival in colon cancer patients: Results from CALGB 89803 (Alliance). J Clin Oncol 35, 2017 (suppl; abstr 3517).
Schlörmann W, Lamberty J, Lorkowski S, Ludwig D, Mothes H, Saupe C, Glei M. Chemopreventive potential of in vitro fermented nuts in LT97 colon adenoma and primary epithelial colon cells. Mol Carcinog. 2017 May;56(5):1461-1471. doi: 10.1002/mc.22606.
Tárraga López PJ, Albero JS, Rodríguez-Montes JA. Primary and secondary prevention of colorectal cancer. Clin Med Insights Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul 14;7:33-46. doi: 10.4137/CGast.S14039. eCollection 2014.
Lux S, Scharlau D, Schlörmann W, Birringer M, Glei M. In vitro fermented nuts exhibit chemopreventive effects in HT29 colon cancer cells. Br J Nutr. 2012 Oct;108(7):1177-86.
Nagel JM, Brinkoetter M, Magkos F, Liu X, Chamberland JP, Shah S, Zhou J, Blackburn G, Mantzoros CS. Dietary walnuts inhibit colorectal cancer growth in mice by suppressing angiogenesis. Nutrition. 2012 Jan;28(1):67-75. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2011.03.004.
Carvalho M, Ferreira PJ, Mendes VS, Silva R, Pereira JA, Jerónimo C, Silva BM. Human cancer cell antiproliferative and antioxidant activities of Juglans regia L. Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Jan;48(1):441-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2009.10.043.
González CA, Salas-Salvadó J. The potential of nuts in the prevention of cancer. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S87-94. Review. Erratum in: Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99(2):447-8.
Jenab M, Ferrari P, Slimani N, Norat T, Casagrande C, Overad K, Olsen A, Stripp C, Tjønneland A, Boutron-Ruault MC, Clavel-Chapelon F, Kesse E, Nieters A, Bergmann M, Boeing H, Naska A, Trichopoulou A, Palli D, Krogh V, Celentano E, Tumino R, Sacerdote C, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Ocké MC, Peeters PH, Engeset D, Quirós JR, González CA, Martínez C, Chirlaque MD, Ardanaz E, Dorronsoro M, Wallström P, Palmqvist R, Van Guelpen B, Bingham S, San Joaquin MA, Saracci R, Kaaks R, Riboli E. Association of nut and seed intake with colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004 Oct;13(10):1595-603.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies. “My journey into writing about alternative medicine began about 9:30 one evening after I finished with a patient at the clinic I practiced at over a decade ago. I had just spent the last two hours explaining how diet, sleep and other lifestyle choices create health problems and how changes in these, along with certain herbal medicines and other natural strategies can radically yet safely turn our health around. As I drove home that night, I realized this knowledge should be available to more people. So I began writing about health with a mission to reach those who desperately need this information. The strategies in my books and articles are backed by scientific evidence along with wisdom handed down through traditional medicines for thousands of years.”