Eating nuts increases survival in colon cancer patients

The regular consumption of nuts significantly increases the prognosis of people with stage III colon cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study was led by researchers at Yale Cancer Center who looked at the the effect of nuts consumption on colon cancer recurrence and survival. In conducting the study, the research team examined 826 individuals with stage III colon cancer. The participants reported their dietary intake on food frequency questionnaires. At the same time, they were enrolled onto a randomized adjuvant chemotherapy trial. The research team followed-up on the participants after an average of six and a half years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy.

The results of the study showed that cancer patients who ate two or more servings of nuts every week exhibited 42 percent improvement in disease-free survival as well as a 57 percent improvement in overall survival, in comparison to those who did not eat nuts.

As the researchers further analyzed the results, they found that disease-free survival increased by 46 percent among the subgroup of nut consumers who ate tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, instead of peanuts.

“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,” said Temidayo Fadelu, the lead author of the study.

Fadelu also said that their findings emphasized the importance of dietary and lifestyle factors in surviving colon cancer. In addition, their study highlighted the links between biological mechanisms that worsen disease, not only in colon cancer, but also in certain chronic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes. This finding is in line with previous studies that reported nuts can help reduce insulin resistance, which is a condition wherein the body finds it hard to process the insulin hormone. Insulin resistance results in unhealthy levels of sugar in the blood as well as a predecessor to type-2 diabetes and related diseases. Furthermore, previous studies among colon cancer patients found that their condition worsens when they follow a lifestyle that increase insulin resistance, such as being obese, lacking of exercise, and eating a diet rich in carbohydrates. (Related: Here’s a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent.)

“These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you less insulin resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer,” said Charles S. Fuchs, senior author of the study.

Fuchs also noted that nuts might satisfy hunger with less consumption of carbohydrates or other foods linked to negative results. He also said that patients may not be eating nuts because of concerns regarding its high fat content, which could lead to obesity and worse outcomes. However, contrary to this, regular eaters of nuts in the study were found to be leaner.

More reasons why you should eat nuts

Nuts are technically considered a fruit, although they are not sweet and are rich in fat. The most commonly consumed nuts are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. Nuts are highly nutritious, which is one of the reasons why you should eat nuts. Nuts are also low in carbs and a great source of nutrients like magnesium, manganese, and selenium. Another reason why you should eat nuts is because they are packed with antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that harm the body. Nuts may also help in losing weight, managing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reducing inflammation, and lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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