- Consumption of nuts regularly increases the survival rate of colon cancer patients.
- Tree nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts decrease the risk of cancer recurrence .
- Nuts also help in reducing insulin resistance, that causes type 2 diabetes.
Regular intake of nuts by patients with stage III colon cancer has shown significant decrease in cancer recurrence and death, finds a study conducted at Yale Cancer Center. The findings of the study are published in Journal of Clinical Oncology
The study included about 826 individuals who were under clinical trials for 6.5 years after they were treated with chemotherapy and surgery. Patients who consumed about one-ounce of nuts weekly showed 42% improvement in disease-free survival and 57% improvement in overall survival.
‘Regular consumption of nuts decreases the risk of cancer recurrence and death in colon cancer patients.’
"Further analysis of this cohort revealed that disease-free survival increased by 46% among the subgroup of nut consumers who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts," said Charles S. Fuchs, M.D., M.P.H., director of Yale Cancer Center and senior author of the study. Tree nuts included almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews and hazelnuts and whereas peanuts which belonged to the legume family.
According to a study conducted by Temidayo Fadelu, M.D., at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the outcomes of colon cancer can be decreased by following healthy lifestyle like low intake of sugar, sweetened beverages, maintaining a healthy weight and doing physical activities. The study mainly emphasizes the importance of diet and lifestyle for colon cancer patients.
The study also highlighted the connection between biological mechanisms that aggravate the disease conditions not only in colon cancer but also in other chronic disorders like type 2 diabetes.
Earlier studies have proved that nuts help in reducing insulin resistance, a condition were the body cannot process the insulin hormone. Insulin resistance usually increases the blood sugar level and leads to type 2 diabetes and other related disease conditions.
The consequences among colon cancer patients were bad when they followed a lifestyle that included high carbohydrate food intake and lack of exercise. This resulted in increase of insulin resistance and blood sugar level.
"These studies support the hypothesis that behaviors that make you less insulin resistant, including eating nuts, seem to improve outcomes in colon cancer," Fuchs said. "However, we don't know yet what exactly about nuts is beneficial.".
Fuchs also mentioned that nuts not only satisfies satisfy the appetite but also decreases the intake of carbohydrates and other foods that are associated with poor outcomes.
Some patients don't eat nuts due to the fear of gaining weight as an ounce of almonds holds about 200 calories that include 14 grams of fat. Studies have shown that regular nut consumers tend be leaner and not obese.
According to Fuchs and his colleagues dietary changes make a huge difference in a patient's condition. Earlier analyses have shown a significant link between coffee consumption and reduction in recurrence and mortality in colon cancer patients.
The advice given by Fuchs to his patients is to exercise regularly, reduce weight and avoid intake of high-carbohydrate diet. He also said that they can have coffee and nuts if only they like it or else there are many other ways to reduce the condition.
Presently scientists are working on defining new drugs for colon cancer patients based their diet and lifestyle pattern.
About Colon Cancer
Colon Cancer also known as colorectal cancer, it usually arises due to a tumor in the inner walls of the large intestine. It is the third leading cause of cancer in both men and women. The common symptoms of the cancer are constipation, dark-colored stool, anemia anemia, rectal bleeding and abdominal discomfort. Surgery is the most common and initial treatment for colon cancer patients where the tumor is removed and the healthy sections of the intestine are reconnected.
- Temidayo Fadelu, Sui Zhang, Donna Niedzwiecki, Xing Ye, Leonard B. Saltz, Robert J. Mayer, Rex B. Mowat, Renaud Whittom, Alexander Hantel, Al B. Benson, Daniel M. Atienza, Michael Messino, Hedy L. Kindler, Alan Venook, Shuji Ogino, Kimmie Ng, Kana Wu, Walter Willett, Edward Giovannucci, Jeffrey Meyerhardt, Ying Bao, Charles S. Fuchs. Nut Consumption and Survival in Patients With Stage III Colon Cancer: Results From CALGB 89803 (Alliance) Journal of Clinical Oncology, (2018)