The Anti-Cancer Properties of Nuts and Beans

Nuts – walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts, not only are a popular snack food, but they also contain potent anti-angiogenic omega-3 PUFAs. Thus, nuts are an anti-angiogenic food.

A multicenter study led by Harvard Medical School examined 826 patients with stage 3 colon cancer who underwent surgery two months before entering the clinical trial. Participating centers included Duke University, the Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Toledo Community Hospital, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, Loyola University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Virginia Oncology Associates, University of California San Francisco, and Yale University. Patients received standard-of-care chemotherapy, and their intake of nuts was measured and correlated with their clinical outcomes from cancer treatment. The results showed that two servings of tree nuts per week were associated with a remarkable 57 percent reduced risk of death. The amount of nuts in one serving required to achieve this effect are: seven whole walnuts, or eighteen cashews, or twenty-three almonds, or eleven macadamias.

For cancer prevention, the EPIC study examined nut intake in 478,040 people and found an association between women consuming one and a half servings of nuts and seeds per day and a 31 percent reduced risk of colon cancer. For this effect, the dose of nuts would be one of the following: eleven whole walnuts, twenty-six cashews, seventeen macadamia nuts, or four tablespoons of pine nuts. Another study from the University of Toronto studied 1,253 men from Toronto and Quebec and evaluated their intake of nuts, seeds, and beans, among other foods. In relation to nuts or beans, those men who consumed one serving per day had an associated 31 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer. In terms of beans, the serving size would be only two tablespoons per day. 

*This excerpt is from Dr. Li’s book, Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself

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Dr. William W. Li, MD

William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned physician, scientist and author of the New York Times bestseller “Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.” His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments and impacts care for more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease and obesity. His TED Talk, “Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?” has garnered more than 11 million views. Dr. Li has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC and the Dr. Oz Show, and he has been featured in USA Today, Time Magazine, The Atlantic and O Magazine. He is president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and is leading research into COVID-19.