Some of the best health advice around is to up your intake of legumes (beans) and switch out white rice for its brown cousin. Adding green vegetables and dried fruit to your regular diet is also adding healing foods to your repertoire. This story is about food cures, particularly those now proven to reduce your risk of colon polyps.
A new study found that eating legumes at least three times a week and brown rice at least once a week reduced the risk of colon polyps by 33% and 40%, respectively. The researchers went on to find out that cooked green veggies and dried fruit were also independently associated with greater protection.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Colon polyps are not cancerous, but they need to be removed, as they can lead down the road to ancerous tumors. The best way humans can deflect their risk of cancer is making wise food choices.
The cooked green vegetables, eaten once a day, were linked to a 24% reduced risk of polyps. The dried fruit, at three times a week or more, equaled a 26% lower risk. Legumes, dried fruits and brown rice all are rich in fiber, which is known to dilute potential carcinogens. And cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and salad greens contain detoxifying compounds.
Old studies have found that eating too much red or processed meat increases one’s risk for colon cancer. But if legumes are present on the plate, they may help deflect that risk on their own.
The new study came from data gleaned from 2,818 people who were tracked for 26 years. In this time period, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were identified. Other risk factors were accounted for, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, exercise level, alcohol intake, smoking, constipation, intake of sweets, pain medication, and multivitamins, as well as different food variables. They went on to study 25 foods/food groups in particular.
And that is where they found the considerable protection afforded by legumes and brown rice, a whole grain. And toss in some steamed broccoli and a handful of dried apricots, and you have a whole lot more colon cancer protection.