ON “THE SOPRANOS,” Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) got his nickname after he highjacked a truck he thought was filled with TV sets, but was filled with, you guessed it, walnuts. The guys never did figure out the enormous value of those tasty morsels!

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We’ve been advocating eating 14 walnut halves a day because they offer the good-for-you lipid omega-3 ALA, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, vitamin B-6 and iron. These help increase brain function, control diabetes and reduce heart woes such as high blood pressure and lousy cholesterol. One study that looked at 26 previous studies found that walnut eaters had lower LDL cholesterol than non-walnut eaters by about 5.5 mg/dL.

Now it turns out that in women with breast cancer, eating 2 ounces of walnuts a day for about 14 days actually makes beneficial changes in the expression of 456 genes that inhibit cell proliferation and migration. (Stifle those cancer cells, you nut, you!)

In a study published in Nutrition Research, researchers from Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine wanted to see if “walnut consumption would alter gene expression in pathologically confirmed breast cancers of women in a direction that would decrease breast cancer growth.” Their results indicate that, yes, walnut consumption may do just that!

So, enjoy walnuts as a snack (not too many; they are calorie-dense), in salads, blended with olive oil and basil for a pesto, as walnut oil on salads and in stir-fries (good for cooking temperatures up to 400 F).

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chairman of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.