17 Jun 2016 --- New research has suggested that men who have prostate cancer could reduce their risk of death by eating nuts regularly.
The results come from the largest ever study into the effects of a nut-rich diet on prostate cancer.
The researchers, experts at Harvard Medical School in Boston, studied 47,000 men over 26 years and identified 6,800 who had developed prostate cancer.
Five 1oz servings a week of any type of nut cut mortality rates by 34 per cent, researchers found.
Most of the nut-eaters in the US study ate peanuts, but the health benefits seem to apply whatever the type of nut. Nuts are rich in tocopherols, a type of vitamin E which some research suggests can combat cancer.
They also contain phytochemicals, naturally occurring plant chemicals thought to have potent anti-cancer properties. Other studies have found they protect against heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Writing in the British Journal of Cancer the researchers found no "statistically significant associations" between eating nuts and being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
However, when it came to reducing mortality rates, they found that "patients who consumed nuts five or more times per week after diagnosis had a significant 34 percent lower rate of overall mortality than those who consumed nuts less than once per month."
They added: "This suggests nuts, although not associated with being diagnosed with cancer, may still improve the overall survival of patients."
This isn't the first time a study has suggested the consumption of nuts could help fight certain cancers. In 2014, scientists found walnuts in particular seemed to significantly lower the risk of a tumor.
In 2009, researchers claimed eating large quantities of Brazil nuts could help fight against prostate cancer. Brazil nuts are known to contain high quantities of 'selenium', a mineral with anti-cancer properties that protects cells and tissue from damaging molecules.
Prostate cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths is estimated as 20.7 per 100,000 men per year. Men whose fathers or brothers have had prostate cancer are more than twice as likely to develop the disease. Although 70-74 is the average age at which men are diagnosed, the percent of prostate cancer deaths is highest among men aged 75-84.
This cancer is also a problem in the UK, as 44,000 men are diagnosed each year. It is the most common cancer among UK men as one in eight men will be diagnosed in their lifetime. That likelihood is doubled for black men, with one in four being affected by the disease.
Records show that 10,500 men die from prostate cancer each year – that equates to one every hour. More than 330,000 men are living with, or after the disease.
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