Including walnuts in a healthy diet could be a simple strategy to improve health and reduce the risk of cancer
- The review concludes that foods rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, such as walnuts, show great potential for the prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer.
- On the occasion of the European Week Against Cancer, the results of this study reinforce the position of walnuts as a superfood that, incorporated in a healthy diet, could contribute to cancer prevention.
İstanbul, Turkey – (ARAB NEWSWIRE) – A scientific review published in the scientific journal Antioxidants, examines the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of walnuts and their relevance to cancer prevention and microbiome care. On the occasion of the European Week Against Cancer, which runs from May 25-31, the results of this study present what could be a simple strategy to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases such as cancer: including walnuts in a healthy diet.
Walnuts have been shown to contain a remarkable array of micronutrients and phytochemicals that act synergistically contributing to a wide range of health benefits, including protection against inflammation and various forms of cancer. Walnuts are a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), tocopherols, antioxidant polyphenols (catechins, resveratrol, ellagitannins), phytosterols (stigmasterol, campesterol, sitosterol) and active prebiotics. These components not only promote overall health, but also have the potential to support a healthy gut microbiome by acting as prebiotics, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria.
“My interest in walnuts goes back for more than a decade, aware of studies that have shown the anti-cancer properties of walnuts. With this scientific review, we have tried to understand exactly what part of the walnut is responsible for this. Our guess is that ellagitannins, a type of polyphenol in the walnut, are really important in providing the anticancer properties we are seeing,” says Dr. Rosenberg, UConn Health Professor of Medicine and HealthNet Chair in Cancer Biology, the principal investigator of an ongoing NIH-funded clinical study of walnuts and the microbiome.
ALA, plant-based omega-3 from walnuts
Walnuts contain large amounts of ALA, 2.7 grams per serving (1), that humans cannot produce on their own and must obtain from dietary sources. ALA (an omega-3 PUFA) has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity and tumor suppressive properties in animal models and cell culture systems.
Polyphenols in walnuts
Phenolic compounds are important micronutrients that are abundant in walnuts and have a wide range of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Based on serving size, walnuts are the seventh largest source of total polyphenols among commonly consumed foods and beverages (2,3).
In conclusion, foods rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, such as walnuts, show great potential for the prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. In addition, the review highlights the benefits of the natural components present in walnuts, which reinforce their position as a superfood that, incorporated into a healthy diet, could contribute to cancer prevention.
Cancer is a universal public health problem. Cancer is growing at an alarming pace in MENA countries.. The region shows a disturbing rise in the number of cancer patients. Long-term projections show that, by 2030 there would be a 1.8-fold increase in cancer incidence. The prevalence of obesity in adults in MENA is very high, particularly among women, and the prevalence of diabetes mellitus parallels that of obesity. Increases in body mass indexes (BMIs) is expected to increase colorectal, liver and gastric carcinoma, particularly among males, where BMI has a stronger effect on cancer incidence in males than in females (4). Adopting a healthy diet including walnuts early in life may help to reduce the risk of obesity and cancer in the region.
This scientific review adds to the more than 225 peer-reviewed papers supported by the California Walnut Commission at more than 60 institutions and universities in 10 countries around the world. After 30 years of health research aimed at expanding the understanding of the nutritional value of walnuts and explaining their role in a healthy diet, the scientific evidence demonstrates the multiple benefits of walnuts in contributing to the prevention of cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure, the reduction of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and, as Dr. Rosenberg’s review suggests, the prevention of cancer risk.
Walnut research continues to evolve and will contribute to support walnut’s role in healthy eating in Spain and around the world.
Nuoxi Fan, Jennifer L. Fusco and Daniel W. Rosenberg. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Walnut Constituents: Focus on Personalized Cancer Prevention and the Microbiome
Antioxidants. April 22, 2023. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox12050982
- S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov
- Sanchez-Gonzalez, C.; Ciudad, C.; Noe, V.; Izquierdo-Pulido, M. Health benefits of walnut polyphenols: An exploration beyond their lipid profile. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2017, 57, 3373–3383. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2015.1126218
- Vinson, J.A.; Cai, Y. Nuts, especially walnuts, have both antioxidant quantity and efficacy and exhibit significant potential health benefits. Food Funct. 2012, 3, 134–140. doi: 10.1039/c2fo10152a
- Mostafa Ahmed Arafa, Danny Munther Rabah, Karim Hamda Farhat; Rising cancer rates in the Arab World: now is the time for action, East Mediterranean Health Journal 2020;26:638-640
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