Walnuts Protective Against Cancer and Heart Disease

September 20, 2005

Many think melatonin is something you can take to fall asleep after long airplane flights, but scientists are studying how this powerful antioxidant actually fights diseases like cancer, may impact diseases associated with aging and could allow people to live healthier lives.

Many think melatonin is something you can take to fall asleep after long airplane flights, but scientists are studying how this powerful antioxidant actually fights diseases like cancer, may impact diseases associated with aging and could allow people to live healthier lives. Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio (USA) has proven walnuts are a natural source of melatonin.

According to Russel J. Reiter, professor of neuroendocrinology at the university, "The ingredients in walnuts would be expected to reduce the incidence of cancer, delay or make less severe neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Parkinsonism, Alzheimer's and reduce the severity of cardiovascular disease."

Dr. Reiter's study found walnuts are a potent source of melatonin, which is easily absorbed in the body. "When walnuts are consumed, blood levels of melatonin increase threefold," noted Reiter. Studies have shown walnuts reduce the risk of heart disease because of their combination of healthy nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Reiter believes it is the synergy among the ingredients in walnuts that makes them so beneficial. "Melatonin and omega-3s, both of which are in walnuts, starve cancers because they prevent the growth of cancer cells. When you take melatonin as a tablet, you are exclusively getting melatonin. I think the value of the walnut is the composite of what it contains."

www.uthscsa.edu