Pistachios may reduce lung cancer risk

December 9, 2009 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

Pistachios may reduce lung cancer risk

A daily dose of pistachios may help reduce the risk of lung and other cancers, according to researchers who presented their findings at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference held this week.

Pistachios are known to provide a heart-healthy benefit by producing a cholesterol-lowering effect and providing the antioxidants that are typically found in plant foods. However, this nut's effect on cancer risk has been overlooked until now.

In this current study, 36 healthy adults were randomly assigned to a normal control group or an intervention pistachio diet. The pistachio diet included about 2 ounces (68 grams or 117 kernels) of pistachios per day.

After four weeks, the researchers found increased blood levels of gamma-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, in the people who ate pistachios. No changes in body mass index occurred with addition of pistachios to their diet. 

Higher intakes of gamma-tocopherol may reduce the risk of lung cancer, explains the dietitian involved in this study. A pistachio-rich diet could potentially help reduce the risk of other cancers from developing as well, adds the lead researcher.

Other food sources that are a rich source of gamma-tocopherol include nuts such as peanuts, pecans, walnuts, soybean and corn oils.

Adding two ounces per day of pistachios could be an important dietary strategy to reduce lung cancer risk without weight gain. For meal ideas and recipes using pistachios, check out our December 2008 Featured Food.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.