A report in the April 2001 issue of the medical journal, Cancer Letters, supports the theory that almonds may possess cancer-preventing qualities. Paul Davis and Christine Iwahashi of the University of California at Davis studied the effect of eating almonds on colon cancer in rats.
They fed the rats whole almonds, as well as almond oil and almond meal. They also injected a chemical that induces cancer. After twenty-six weeks on the almond diet, they checked the colons of the rats to see whether cancer was developing. For the control groups, the researchers used rats that were fed either wheat bran or cellulose, two high fiber foods that can help prevent cancer.
The whole almonds, the almond oil and almond meal all had cancer-preventive effects. The whole almonds were especially effective, and were better at inhibiting the cancer than either wheat bran or cellulose. The authors suggest that a combination of compounds only found in the whole almonds is necessary for the full effect. They conclude that "almond consumption may reduce colon cancer risk and does so via at least one almond-associated lipid component."