Men suffering from prostate cancer who eat nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews and macadamias five or more times a week after diagnosis have a significantly lower risk of mortality than those who consume nuts less than once a month, a new study has claimed.
Researchers looked at the association between nut consumption and prostate cancer risk and mortality among 47,299 men.
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 per cent lower risk of overall mortality than those who consumed nuts less than once per month, researchers said.
“This is important since more men live with prostate cancer than die from it,” said Ying Bao from Harvard University in the US.
According to Bao, 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 per cent 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, researchers said.
Tree nuts have been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and total mortality, they said.
Nuts contain important nutrients such as unsaturated fats, high quality protein, vitamins (vitamin E, folate and niacin) minerals (magnesium, calcium and potassium) and phytochemicals -all of which may offer cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, researchers said.
“These findings add to the growing body of evidence showing that nuts can and should be part of a healthy diet,” said Maureen Ternus from International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation. “Just 1.5 ounces of nuts per day (about 13 cup) can have a positive impact on health,” she said.