Eating nuts reduces your chances of dying from bowel cancer, a new study reveals.
Colon cancer patients who regularly tuck into the healthy snack after their treatment have a 57 percent lower risk of premature death, the findings show.
It also reduces your risk of the cancer returning by 42 percent, the research adds.
Tree nuts – including almonds, pecans and walnuts – have the biggest benefits, while peanuts and peanut butter do not have any impact.
Researchers advise bowel cancer patients enhance their survival prospects by upping their nut intake.
WORRIED ABOUT BOWEL CANCER? TAKE THIS 5-MINUTE TEST
Bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the US and the UK – yet a new test reveals just how at risk you are.
The online tool takes just five minutes to assess how likely you are to develop the potentially fatal illness.
After asking questions including your diet, activity levels and family history of the disease, the test rates your risk as being average or above for low, medium or high risk of developing the cancer.
Dr Carol Burke, President of the American College of Gastroenterology, who co-developed the tool, said: ‘Colon cancer is a preventable disease.
‘Our hope by providing this online assessment is that individuals could take it, print out the results with the call to action and take it to their physicians to start the colorectal cancer screening conversation.’
The online test can be found here.
The researchers, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, analysed 936 patients who had undergone treatment for stage III bowel cancer, also known as colon cancer.
Most of the participants had surgery and chemotherapy. None of their cancers had spread.
Such patients have a 70 percent chance of surviving three years post-treatment.
Results revealed that these nut-eaters had a 57 percent lower risk of premature death compared to patients who did not eat nuts after finishing their treatment.
The findings, released ahead of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, also revealed nut eaters have a 42 percent lower risk of their cancer returning.
When the researchers analysed tree nut consumption – including almonds, pecans and walnuts – the risk of death was lowered by 53 percent and the cancer was 46 percent less likely to return.
Technically a legume, peanuts and peanut butter had no impact.
Lead author Temidayo Fadel, said: ‘Numerous studies in the fields of heart disease and diabetes have shown the benefits of nut consumption, and we felt that it was important to determine if these benefits could also apply to colorectal cancer patients.
‘Patients with advanced disease who benefit from chemotherapy frequently ask what else they can do to reduce their chances of recurrence or death, and our study is an important contribution to the idea that modifying diet and physical activity can be beneficial.’
Although the researchers warn a nut-rich diet should not be used as a substitute for conventional treatment, they add it could be used to enhance colon cancer patients’ survival chances.
Daniel Hayes, president of ASCO, said: ‘Patients with colon cancer should be optimistic and they should eat a healthy diet, including nuts, which may not only keep them healthier, but may also further decrease the chances of the cancer coming back.’
This comes after researchers from the American Cancer Society warn an unprecedented number of young people are being diagnosed with bowel cancer due to poor diets and physical inactivity.
Millennials – those born between 1980 and 1995 – are four times more likely to develop rectal tumors stemming from the large intestine compared to those born around 1950, the study revealed.