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02/01/2010

Pistachios slash lung cancer risk

(NaturalNews) People who want to avoid the leading cancer killer have a pal in the pistachio. According to the latest research on this nutritional nut, pistachios help reduce the risk of developing lung cancer because of their high gamma-tocopherol content. Gamma-tocopherol is a form of vitamin E that has been proven to be an effective cancer deterrent.

The pistachio likes to keep a "low" profile. For example, Penn State researchers say a daily dose of pistachios "lowers" cholesterol levels by as much as 11 percent; nutritionists recommend them to people who want to "lower" their calorie intake (i.e., pistachios are the lowest calorie nut); and a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says pistachios "lower" the risk for cardiovascular disease.

How "low" can the pistachio go? Well, when it comes to how at risk someone is for lung cancer, pretty darn low.

Researchers from Texas Woman`s University in Houston supplied a group of 18 healthy participants (who were chosen at random) with two ounces of pistachios. The pistachios were to be eaten every day for a period of one month (two ounces = about 117 pistachio kernels). The other group of 18 did not eat pistachios but, other than that fact, ate the same diet as the first group.

Through various testing procedures that analyzed their vitamin E levels, the researchers found that the pistachio-munching group had higher levels of gamma-tocopherol. As aforementioned, prior studies have found gamma-tocopherol to be effective in protecting men from prostate cancer. And based on this latest round of findings, the gamma-tocopherol in pistachios are every bit as effective in warding off lung cancer.

Lung cancer kills more people per year than breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer combined.

Now, 117 pistachios per day may sound like a lot, but according to the study`s lead researcher, two ounces of pistachios should not lead to any significant changes in body mass.

If you`re not jazzed about the pistachio, there are other ways to get your gamma-tocopherol fill besides supplementing. Nuts are the most abundant source of gamma-tocopherol (both nuts and nut oils), but another especially rich source is wheat germ oil. One-hundred grams of wheat germ oil contains a whopping 215 milligrams! This is important to note, because even though gamma-tocopherol is the major source of vitamin E in the diet, the blood retains more alpha-tocopherol than gamma-tocopherol.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/release...
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/stat...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocopherol
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocent...

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