People eating two ounces or more of nuts every week reduce the risk of cancer recurring by 42 per cent, and lower their chances of dying from the cancer by 57 per cent.
It's effective even for people who have been treated for stage III cancer, say researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, who looked at the survival rates and diets of 826 patients who had completed treatment for colon cancer.
The average three-year survival rate for the cancer is around 70 per cent, but this improved dramatically in patients who were regularly eating nuts.
But the benefits weren't seen in those eating peanuts, the most widely-consumed nut in the US, or peanut butter. Only tree nuts had the protective effect, possibly because the peanut is actually a legume, the researchers surmise. Beyond that, they admit they don't understand what it is about tree nuts that helps the cancer survivor.
Nuts help overcome or control a range of health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. They also reduce the chances of developing cancer in the first place—and now they seem to reduce the odds of cancer coming back.