Walnuts are So Good for You (and Mice)

A diet high in walnuts may significantly decrease a person's risk of breast cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Marshall University School of Medicine and presented at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research.

A chemical analysis showed that omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols contained in walnuts all contributed to the mice's tumor resistance.

"The omega-3 fatty acid, the phytosterols and antioxidants individually have been shown to prevent or delay cancers" Hardman said. "So if you add them all together, it looks like it may be really good."

In another study, Hardman found that feeding mice a diet enriched with the same omega-3 content as that contained in the walnut dose given in the current study was not as effective as eating the whole walnut.

"It did reduce cancer incidents," she said, "but not as dramatically as the walnut-containing diet did. So it's something else other than the omega-3 in the walnut that's contributing to the suppression of cancers."

Hardman noted that the effect of the whole food was probably greater than the sum of its parts.

With dietary interventions, you see multiple mechanisms when working with the whole food, she said.

For 20 years, I’ve been telling people to eat walnuts as a superfood; now we know it’s good for mice too.

Nuts and seeds contain plant sterols and other phytochemical compounds that we are just beginning to understand their benefits. Eating the whole food guarantees we are getting all of the known and unknown beneficial micronutrients contained in these superfoods.

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Prostate Cancer Over-Diagnosed - Lots of Money to Be Made

People are getting unnecessary medicals test that cost a ton of money? No, you don’t say! A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals large-scale screening for prostate cancer using the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test has resulted in mass over-diagnosis and over-treatment:

The death rate from prostate cancer has fallen in the United States, but not necessarily because of mass screening, study co-author Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Medical School's Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice contended. "There are a number of reasons why mortality might fall, but the most obvious is that we have better treatment," he said. "Even without early detection, I expect mortality would fall."

Results of a European study reported earlier this year indicated that "to save the life of one man, 50 must be over-diagnosed," he said.

Guidelines for screening for blood levels of PSA -- a protein produced by the prostate gland -- differ widely. The American Cancer Society does not recommend PSA screening. But, the society says a PSA test can be offered to men, starting at age 50, during a discussion with their physician. That discussion should also include an explanation of the potential benefits and limitations of such screening.

It all comes down to money! I asked Dr. Fuhrman about it and he said, “It’s true. Prostate cancer screening in general is flawed, but it is big business and the business of medicine trumps science because of the money to be made.” And Dr. Fuhrman insists the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer anyway.

An important thing to remember is prevention, prevention, prevention! Reports come out all the time highlighting the benefits of plant foods on prostate cancer prevention:

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