Eating pistachios every day might help you reduce your risk for lung cancer and other malignancies, according to a recent study. Pistachios are a good source of a type of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol.

"It is known that vitamin E provides a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer. Higher intakes of gamma-tocopherol...may reduce the risk of lung cancer," said Ladia M. Hernandez, RD, LD, a senior research dietitian at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a doctoral candidate at Texas Women's University, both in Houston.

The Study

The study included 18 people who ate 68 grams (about 2 ounces or 117 kernels) of pistachios a day for four weeks and 18 people in a control group who did not add pistachios to their normal diet. Those in the pistachio group showed significantly higher blood levels of gamma-tocopherol during the study period than those who did not eat pistachios.

The findings were presented at a cancer prevention conference in Houston sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research.


"Pistachios are one of those 'good-for-you' nuts, and two ounces per day could be incor porated into dietary strategies designed to reduce the risk of lung cancer without significant changes in body mass index," Hernandez said.

"Other foods that are a rich source of gamma tocopherol include peanuts, pecans, walnuts, soybean and corn oils," she added.

Urgent Update: Folic Acid May Increase Cancer Risk

Recent studies have shown that people who regularly consume large amounts of folic acid may increase their risk for several forms of cancer, including colorectal and prostate. The government-recommended tolerable upper limit is 1,000 micrograms (mcg) a day.

At risk: People who take in a lot without realizing it.

Example: A daily multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid. a B-complex supplement with another 400 mcg...cereal with 400 mcg to 800 mcg, and flour-based products with 100 mcg to 200 mcg.

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