Can nuts inhibit cancer growth?
Nuts have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer due to their high fibre content, low saturation of fats and high levels of antioxidants – even more than fruits and vegetables combined.
Nuts have a protective effect on health as they are involved in activating the body’s’ own defence system to detoxify reactive oxygen species which cause DNA damage and development of cancer.
Just when we thought we had all the research regarding nuts, researchers now tell us that nuts have shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and might reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Scientists have known for a long time about the good stuff in nuts which contribute to health and wellbeing. Nuts are good for the heart and the cardiovascular system and protect against gaining weight and developing the risk of diabetes.
Some studies have indicated a protective effect against colon cancer. But till now scientists were not aware of the molecular mechanism which contributed to this protective effect.
When the human body is exposed to ultraviolet radiation, various chemicals or distinct food amongst other things, it creates reactive oxygen species which can damage DNA leading to cancer development.
According to this study, nuts have a protective effect on health as they are involved in activating the body’s’ own defence system to detoxify reactive oxygen species. The body has range of such protective mechanisms which render the reactive oxygen species harmless.
Now this new study shows that such mechanisms are stimulated by nuts and substances that they contain.
Five different types of nuts – macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios – were artificially ‘digested’ in test tubes. The effects of digestion on colon cells were then analysed. The researchers established that the activity of the protective enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase increases in the cells that are treated. The digestion of nuts induced what is otherwise called a programmed cell death in the cancer cells thus treated.
The study found the same effect was mediated by all types of nuts.
The researchers want to now move on to investigating this protective effect of nuts and if it is reduced by roasting as most nuts are consumed in roasted form. This will enable healthcare professionals to provide appropriate nutritional advice with regards to nuts.
With more and more research revealing that nuts are beneficial for health, a handful of nuts is a great way to stay healthy.
Source: Molecular Carcinogenesis
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