*Handful of almonds daily wards off hunger, replaces empty calories from junk food
CAN eating carrots regularly could slash a woman’s chances of developing certain types of breast cancer by up to 60 per cent? Yes!
According to results of a research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who ate foods packed with beta-carotene – like carrots and peppers – were between 40 and 60 per cent less likely to develop oestrogen receptor negative breast cancers.
Other fruits and vegetables rich in a pigment called beta-carotene – such as spinach, red peppers and mangoes – have the same effect.
Beta-carotene is a naturally occurring chemical, which gives plant foods their bright colours.
Also, scientists say eating a handful of almonds a day replaces those empty calories, while decreasing a person’s salt intake and increasing their protein.
The findings suggest that incorporating almonds into a person’s diet could improve overall health.
For years, scientists have been advocating its consumption as part of a healthy diet in order to ward off life-threatening conditions like heart disease and cancer.
The latest study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests the benefits in terms of breast cancer are greater than anyone thought.
A healthy diet rich in plant chemicals has long been thought to have a protective effect.
Scientists carrying out one of the biggest ever studies into the relationship between diet and cancer – the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition – looked at a wide range of plant chemicals to see how they affected cancer risk.
Scientists from all across Europe studied 1,500 women diagnosed with breast tumours and another 1,500 or so who were cancer-free.
They were quizzed on dietary habits and blood tests were carried out to measure levels of beta-carotene, as well as other plant-based substances like vitamin C and lycopene.
The results revealed that women who ate foods packed with beta-carotene – like carrots and peppers – were between 40 and 60 per cent less likely to develop oestrogen receptor negative breast cancers.
These account for nearly one in three of all breast tumours.
But the pigment did not appear to lower a woman’s chances of oestrogen receptor positive tumours – which account for the bulk of breast cancers in the United Kingdom (U.K.).
The benefits from other plant chemicals were also negligible, researchers said.
In a report on their findings researchers said: ‘Our results indicate higher concentrations of carotene are associated with lower breast cancer risk of oestrogen negative tumours.’
Meanwhile, team of researchers from Florida, United States, set out to study the effect that the addition of almonds can have on a person’s diet.
They analyzed data collected from 28 parent-child pairs in North Central Florida. For three weeks, the parent participants ate 1.5 ounces of whole almonds each day.
Similarly, the children ate half an ounce of whole almonds – or the equivalent amount of almond butter – each day.
At the beginning of the study, the scientists measured the participating parents and children’s Healthy Eating Index, which is a measurement of diet quality.
The study found that participants who ate almonds each day scored higher on the Healthy Eating Index, and had lower intakes of salt and savory snacks, in addition to higher intakes of protein.
The scientists believe that the participants were replacing salty and processed snacks with almonds.
They noted that over the past 20 years, per-capita consumption of nuts and seeds decreased in children between the ages of three and six – while consumption of chips, pretzels and other savory snacks increased.
As a result, the scientists were most interested on seeing the impact of adding almonds into young children s’ diets.
Study author Alyssa Burns, a doctoral student in food science and human nutrition, said: “The habits you have when you are younger are carried into adulthood, so if a parent is able to incorporate almonds or different healthy snacks into a child’s diet, it’s more likely that the child will choose those snacks later on in life.”
The researchers also honed in on how easy or difficult it was to incorporate almonds into those children’s’ diet, since it’s an age when food preferences are developed.
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