Food is a lot like drugs. The right kind can add years to your life and add life to your years. The wrong kind can suck the life-force out of you faster than your succubus of an ex girlfriend. A new study shows us just how powerful good food can be.
Colorectal cancer (colon cancer) kills about 50,000 people a year. It's treatable if caught early, but it can reoccur and metastasize to the liver, lungs, or other locations. Luckily, science has found a very simple way to cut down the risk of recurrence: eat some nuts.
Researchers kept tabs on 826 patients with stage III colon cancer starting back in 1999. (All had gone through the usual cancer treatments.) They found those who ate a variety of nuts – two ounces or more per week – had a 42% lower chance of cancer recurrence and 57% lower chance of death than those who didn't.
What Kind of Nuts?
Specifically, tree nuts. That includes:
- Brazil nuts
In fact, for those who stuck mainly to tree nuts, the chance of recurrence was 46% lower (vs. 42%) than those who didn't eat nuts regularly.
Sadly, peanuts and peanut butter seemed to have no positive benefits, probably because peanuts, well, just ain't nuts. They're legumes.
How Do Tree Nuts Do This?
Researchers knew to focus on nuts because eating them has already been linked to lower incidences of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and reductions in insulin resistance – all things that decrease your chances of beating cancer. As always in science, "more research is needed" to find the exact mechanisms of action.
How to Use This Info
If you have gotten or ever get colon cancer (and perhaps other types of cancer), eat two or more ounces of nuts per week as part of your healthy diet. Don't forgo the recommended cancer treatments of course, just add this to your preventative arsenal.
If you don't have cancer, eat a reasonable amount of raw nuts anyway (not canned, unless they're natural and uncooked) and focus on tree nuts, not pretend-nut peanuts. Natural nut butters, like almond butter, will do the trick too.
Related: Nuts: You're Eating Them Wrong
Related: The Healthiest Snack Food
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). "Chance of colon cancer recurrence nearly cut in half in people who eat nuts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 May 2017.