Nuts May Prevent Cancer

Nut Consumption May Prevent Cancer

The review, carried out by Marco Falasca, Ilaria Casari and Dr. Tania Maffucci at The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University, found evidence suggesting eating nuts may prevent cancer by providing a protective effect—chemoprevention—in cancers including colorectal, pancreatic and endometrial cancer in women and prostate cancers in men.

It is already well established that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the team also identified research showing a significant inverse association between nut consumption and death from cancer. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that nut consumption should be considered as a tool of intervention to reduce the burden of cancer.

The review highlighted a range of components that nuts contain that may contribute to their anticancer properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components as well as a range of phytochemicals, vitamins and micronutrients, plus dietary fiber, of which nuts are a rich source.

Professor Falasca commented, “Although there is strong evidence that nut consumption is related to the prevention of several diseases including cancer, more support is needed to research the mechanism of action and to find a direct correlation. We’re also a step in the right direction to support the claim that we should have nuts as one of our five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables in order to prevent diseases.”

Globally, cancer is on the rise; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there were more than 14 million cases of cancer diagnosed and 8.2 million deaths in 2012, up from 12.7 million cases and 7.6 million deaths in 2008. By 2025, more than 19 million cancer diagnoses are predicted. Up to 40% of cancer cases are estimated to be linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, being overweight, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, occupational hazards, and exposure to sun and sunbeds.

power of pistachios for cancer prevention
Power of pistachios for cancer prevention

Arianna Carughi, PhD, Nutrition Research Science Advisor for American Pistachio Growers, said: “Pistachios are a nutrient and fiber-rich wholefood and contain a number of bioactive compounds that may be useful at the cellular level. This review highlights the potential of nuts, such as pistachios, as a tool in the fight against cancer and further adds to our understanding of the important contribution that nuts can make to health and wellbeing.”

At 160 calories, one ounce of pistachios contains less than two grams of saturated fat and six grams of protein per serving. Pistachios make the perfect snack and can be included as part of a healthy diet.

Sources: Falasca M, Casari I& Maffucci T. Cancer Chemoprevention With Nuts. J Natl Cancer Inst 2014: 106(9), American Pistachio Growers

Alliance for Food and Farming: EWG Unfairly Targets Apples and Needlessly Scares Consumers

Watsonville, CA — A non-profit group representing farmers of conventional and organic fruits and vegetables is urging caution concerning claims made today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

According to the Alliance for Food and Farming, the EWG is making an attempt to reinvigorate waning media interest in its upcoming Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce,  by making inflammatory claims about the safety of apples, a favorite fruit of Americans and, in particular, children.

“EWG is once again scaring consumers about an extremely safe and healthy product that parents should be feeding their children more of for good health,” said Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming.  “The Alliance is disappointed apples are once again being unfairly targeted by an activist group, which is distorting the facts.  We are urging reporters to use caution and that they contact reputable scientists, government agencies and nutritionists for more information before jeopardizing the livelihoods of family farmers and needlessly scaring consumers.”

The Alliance notes the EWG claims concern a compound, known as DPA, applied to apples following harvest to prevent them scalding during cold storage.  Monitoring of this compound is regularly conducted as part of the United States Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program (PDP) and it has been found to be well below tolerance levels. More than 60 countries and the World Health Organization have found this compound to be safe when used according to stringent regulations governing all uses of pesticides by U.S. farmers.

Dr. Carl Winter, a toxicologist with the University of California, Davis, states that DPA residues specifically have been shown to be 208 times lower than the US. Environmental Protection Agency’s reference dose.

It should be noted, however, that fresh apples were not included in this year’s PDP report, although they have been tested through this program many times before.  Data from this government report is used by EWG to develop its so-called dirty dozen list, but they may be using old data to make these most recent claims about apples.

“The United States Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have stated residues do not pose a food safety concern,” said Dolan. “Residues of DPA, or any other pesticide, that may be found on apples are consistently extremely low according to decades of monitoring by government agencies.   The residues are so low, in fact, that an independent toxicological report finds that a small child could eat 154 servings of apples every day without any impact from any residues that might be present.”

The Alliance for Food and Farming has developed a website working with experts in toxicology, nutrition, risk assessment and farming where people can learn more about the regulations in place to ensure the safety of fruits and vegetables at www.safefruitsandveggies.com.

Dolan urged consumers to use its pesticide residue calculator to learn more about residues on their favorite fruits and vegetables and she emphasized that health experts around the world agree, and even the EWG has stated, that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables far outweighs any risks from residues that may be present.

She also emphasizes that decades of research backs up the clear health benefits associated with eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.  A series of reports on these health benefits can be found on the Safe Fruits and Veggies website.

The Alliance for Food and Farming has been preparing for the annual release of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, which is scheduled for release next week. The Alliance has been successful in recent years in shedding more light on the topic of pesticide residues by giving consumers and media more information about the safety of conventional and organic fruits and vegetables. As a result of this work, consumers now have a science-based resource for information, unlike the EWG Shoppers Guide, which is not based on peer-reviewed science.