On the occasion of the celebration of the World Day Against Cancer on the 4th of February, the INC (International Nut and Dried Fruit Council) reports that the regular consumption of nuts is associated with a reduced mortality risk, according to a recent study run by Harvard University.
Today, cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths per year. Nut consumption has a lot more to do in preventing cancer than we normally think. Today, cancer causes about 8.2 million deaths per year, and is expected to raise this number to 13 million per year by 2034. Also, the current figure of 14 million of annual cancer cases detected in 2012 is expected to grow into 22 million within the next two decades.
Given the forecast and coinciding with the World Day against Cancer, celebrated every year on February 4th, the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) wants to share some facts that can help us live a healthier life and may help prevent this disease. According to a recent study run by Harvard University, which analyzed over 100.000 people along 30 years, nut consumption was inversely associated with total mortality by over 20% with disregard of the cause, and had an inverse relation with some of the most common causes of death, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
This study, the largest ever conducted investigating the effect of nuts intake in mortality, concluded that participants who ate a daily handful of nuts reduced the mortality due to cancer by 11%, compared to those who didn’t consume any nuts. Dr. Ying Bao concluded that “nut consumption was inversely associated with mortality, independently of other risk factors“.
In another study also ran by Dr. Bao and her colleagues, called “Nut consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer in women“, it was revealed that frequent nut consumption is inversely associated with risk of pancreatic cancer in women, independent of other potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer including age, obesity, physical activity, smoking or diabetes.
Besides nuts, dried fruits are also indicated for cancer prevention, as they are as healthy as their fresh equivalent and high in polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants that may protect DNA against damage, decrease inflammation and prevent cancer.
Properties and Benefits
A number of scientific studies have demonstrated the health benefits of nuts and dried fruits. All these benefits are attributed to the multiple components that these products have, such as vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, arginine, plant sterols and phytochemical compounds.
Furthermore, they have a low content of saturated fatty acids, among others.