Healthy living

Pistachios may lower lung cancer risk

Zone default image And for other cancers

Eating a handful of pistachio nuts each day may help reduce your risk of lung and other cancers, new research suggests.

"It is known that vitamin E provides a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer. Higher intakes of gamma-tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin E, may reduce the risk of lung cancer," said senior research dietician Ladia M. Hernandez from the University of Texas.

Researchers decided to test whether eating pistachio nuts would boost gamma-tocopherol levels in the blood.

In the study involving 36 women, half were given 68g of pistachio nuts a day to eat, and the other half continued on their normal diet as before.

After six weeks, the women on the pistachio diet had significantly higher blood serum levels of gamma-tocopherol compared to women who had continued with their normal diets.

A pistachio-rich diet could also hep reduce the risk of developing other cancers, said Ms. Hernandez.

"Because epidemiologic studies suggest gamma-tocopherol is protective against prostate cancer, pistachio intake may help.

"Pistachios are a good source of gamma-tocopherol. Eating them increases intake of gamma-tocopherol so pistachios may help to decrease lung cancer risk," she added.

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

She also said that 68g (2 ounces) of pistachios could be incorporated into diets designed to reduce the risk of lung cancer without significant changes to someone's body mass index.

The research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers In Cancer Prevention conference.

This article was published on Wed 9 December 2009

Image © © Vladimir Kolobov -

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