This article summarizes background materials and presentations at a symposium that considered the issue of the role of foods and dietary patterns vs. nutrients in relation to chronic disease risk. A model of food synergy is presented as a basis for studying whole foods and dietary patterns. Findings from a series of studies of walnuts were presented and support the concept that walnuts are a healthy food, with specific benefits in a mouse model of breast cancer growth, reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors in humans, and motor performance and in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo cellular response to challenge in an aged-rat model.
*Preliminary animal research has been investigating the potential benefit walnuts may have on fighting a variety of cancers including breast, prostate, and colorectal. Please note, that these animal studies are provided as background and used to formulate hypotheses for additional research needed to determine the effects on humans.