EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Monday, March 22, 2:20 p.m., Eastern Time
Scientists in California are reporting for the first time that walnuts — already renowned as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that fight heart disease — reduce the size and growth rate of prostate cancer in test animals. They described their findings today at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), being held here this week.
“Walnuts should be part of a prostate-healthy diet,” said Paul Davis, Ph.D., who headed the study. He is with the University of California-Davis. “They should be part of a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.”
More than 190,000 men in the United States will get a diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2010, making it the most common non-skin cancer. It claims about 27,000 lives annually. The scientists fed lab mice genetically programmed to develop prostate cancer the equivalent of about 2.5 ounces of walnuts per day — equivalent to 14 shelled nuts — for 2 months. A control group of mice got the same diet except with soybean oil. The walnut-fed mice developed prostate cancers that were about 50 percent smaller than the control mice. Those cancers also grew 30 percent slower.