If you need another excuse to enjoy a handful of your favorite tree nut, new research suggests consumption of nuts can slash the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Long associated with decreased rates of heart disease and diabetes, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, along with Harvard Medical School, have now added another compelling reason to include nuts in the diet - namely, cancer prevention.
Tasty snack with substantial benefits
A study published in the British Journal of Cancer found a strong correlation between nuts and lower cancer rates. The study was based on data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which was was analyzed for the nut consumption - including almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts - of 75, 680 healthy women. The team discovered that “eating a one-ounce serving of nuts at least twice a week was associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer,” reports the Huffington Post. “[The] nut-eaters also tended to weigh less than the non-nut-eaters.” Other factors for pancreatic cancer such as age, height, physical activity, obesity, smoking, diabetes and dietary influences were taken into account and included in the results.
This is not the first time nuts have been linked with substantial health related benefits. According to several studies in recent years, nuts have been shown to improve health by reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Research at the Taipai Medical University in Tawain found that regular consumption of almonds had positive effects on glycemic control, obesity and lipid profile. The team believes these findings indicate a strong correlation between eating almonds and reducing the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Simmilarly, a study in the journal Diabetes Care revealed that replacing carbohydrate foods with two-ounces of nuts daily improved both serum lipids and glycemic control in those with diabetes.
The Mayo Clinic also states that nuts can lower the risk of blood clots, high cholesterol and plaque in the arteries. These favorable effects are attributed to the high levels of unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols and L-arginine present in nuts.
For full benefit and nutritional quality, it’s important to consume only raw organic nuts which include the skin. Additionally, soaking and sprouting the nuts vastly improves digestion and the bioavailabilty of nutrients. Complete instructions can can be found here.