When I was growing up in Kentucky, my grandparents had a grove of walnut trees. So… I ate a lot of walnuts.
My grandmother cooked with them, baked with them, and we ate them by the handful for snacks. She always said they were good for you. How right she was.
A study found that eating walnuts could reduce your risk of breast cancer. With just a handful of nuts (2 ounces) a day, mice delayed the onset of cancerous tumors.
You see, walnuts contain a trio of cancer fighters – phytosterols, omega-3s, and flavonoids.
Phytosterols could slash your risk of breast cancer
Studies show that phytosterols can inhibit tumors from forming in the breast and shrink them if they are already there.
In addition to walnuts, you can find phytosterols in:
- Flax seed oil
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower seeds
- Brussels sprouts
Omega -3s target cancer cells
Omega-3s have a unique ability. They’re able to get absorbed into cell membranes where they help cancer cells self-destruct. They reduce a inflammatory enzyme called COX 2, which promotes breast cancer.
Plus, they keep your body’s breast cancer genes healthy.
When these genes function normally, they help repair DNA and prevent cancer from developing.
You can get omega-3s in these foods:
- Wild-caught salmon, anchovies, sardines
- Flax seeds
- Grass-fed beef
- Almonds, pecans
- Sacha inchi oil
- Olives/olive oil
Flavonoids inhibit cancer cell growth
Walnuts also contain a flavonoid called ellagic acid. This powerful flavonoid inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Ellagic acid not only protects your healthy cells from free radical damage, but it also helps to detox would-be cancer-causing cells and helps prevent cancer cells from reproducing.
Other ellagic acid-rich foods are:
- Berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries)
Working all of these foods into your diet will help you protect your body from the dreaded “C” word. Still walnuts are the only super food that offers all these cancer-fighting compounds in one.
To get the freshest, most nutritious walnuts, follow these tips:
- If you’re buying walnuts in the shell, make sure the shells don’t have any defects – look for little wormholes. Give the shells a little shake. If they rattle when you shake them, they are probably old and over dried.
- Store shelled walnuts in an airtight package. You can store them up to about 6 months if you keep them in the refrigerator. Up to a year in the freezer.
- If you prefer unshelled walnuts, look for a freshness date on the package. The high oil content makes them highly perishable. Heat and humidity will speed up the process. As with the shelled walnuts, keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they will last for several months too. Longer in the freezer.
Aside from popping a handful of walnuts in your mouth, there are many ways to enjoy them. Sprinkle a handful on your salad or yogurt, or experiment with your favorite recipes. I like to add them to chicken salad or sauteed vegetables.
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years.
Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida with over 15,000 patients. Over the course of his career, he has developed his own approach to heart health, longevity and anti-aging medicine - combining the best of modern medical science with natural holistic techniques and treatments.