Could Tree Nuts Reduce Your Colon Cancer Risk?

In the race to cure cancer, experts are investigating all the potential methods for reducing risks and minimizing symptoms and extending life.  For example, a new study suggests that eating more nuts—and tree nuts, especially—could be of great benefit to colon cancer survivors.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study documents how the team of researchers analyzed 826 patients who they monitored for a median time of 6.5 years after receiving their first surgery and chemotherapy for stage-III colon cancer.  According to the study, patients who consumed at least two, one-ounce servings of nuts per week showed a 42 percent higher disease-free survival rate with a 57 percent improvement in survival, overall.

Additionally, the team of researchers also found those who regularly consumed nuts showed notably reduced odds for recurrence of cancer and risk of death when compared with those who did not consume any nuts.

In the study, the researchers comment, “We assessed associations of nut intake with cancer recurrence and mortality.  Diets with a higher consumption of nuts may be associated with a significantly reduced incidence of cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon cancer.”

According to lead study author Charles S. Fuchs, “Further analysis of this cohort revealed that disease-free survival increased by 46 percent among the subgroup of nut consumers who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts.”  The director of the Yale University Cancer Center reminds that tree nuts include almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts, noting especially that peanuts are part of the legume family.

Also a lead author of the paper, Temidayo Fadelu comments, “These findings are in keeping with several other observational studies that indicate that a slew of healthy behaviors—including increased physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, and lower intake of sugar and sweetened beverages—improve colon cancer outcomes.” A postdoctoral fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Fadelu goes on to say, “The results highlight the importance of emphasizing dietary and lifestyle factors in colon cancer survivorship.”

Fuchs also concludes “These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you insulin-resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer. However, we don’t know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.”

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