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Eating about a handful of walnuts a day may reduce a woman's likelihood of breast cancer, according to research carried out at the Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, West Virginia.
"Walnuts contain multiple ingredients that, individually, have been shown to slow cancer growth including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols," the researchers wrote in a summary presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting.
The research was done with lab mice bred to develop breast cancer, but Elaine Hardman, one of the researchers working on the study, said the same mechanism is likely to be at work in people, according to an article in Reuters.
The mice eating the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts a day developed fewer and smaller tumors than those who did not.
The study adds to the evidence that omega-3 fatty acids are a powerful part of a healthy diet, helping prevent cancers and reduce the risk of heart disease.
"We know that a healthy diet overall prevents all manner of chronic diseases," said Hardman in the article, "Walnuts are better than cookies, french fries or potato chips when you need a snack."
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