London-There is no evidence that eating nuts reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer. But men suffering from the disease could slash their risk of death by more than a third by eating nuts regularly, a major study shows.
In the latest study, published online in the British Journal of Cancer, American experts at Harvard Medical School in Boston tracked 47,299 men over 26 years.
While nut consumption was not associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer, men who had prostate cancer and consumed tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts) five or more times per week after diagnosis, had a significant 34 percent lower risk of overall mortality than those who consumed nuts less than once per month.
“This is important,” states lead researcher, Ying Bao, MD, ScD, from the Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, “since more men live with prostate cancer than die from it.”
According to the research, of the 4,346 men diagnosed with non-metastatic (cancer that has not spread from the place where it started to other places in the body) prostate cancer during the 26 years of follow-up, only about 10 percent died from prostate cancer. Roughly one third of the cancer patients died from cardiovascular disease and the rest from other causes.
Increasing evidence suggests that insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells of the body become resistant to the hormone insulin, is involved in prostate cancer risk and progression. Tree nuts have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and total mortality.
Nuts contain important nutrients such as unsaturated fats, high quality protein, vitamins (i.e., vitamin E, folate and niacin) minerals (i.e., magnesium, calcium and potassium) and phytochemicals–all of which may offer cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.