Eating Pulses Cuts the Risk of Bowel Cancer

A new study has shown that by increasing the amount of pulses in your diet can dramatically reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. Scientists from Loma Linda University in California found that by eating kidney beans, lentils, brown rice, green vegetables and dried fruit could substantially cut the risk of bowel cancer. By eating these foods at least three times a week, people were reducing their risk of developing polyps, the small growths in the lining of the bowel which can become cancerous – by a third, researchers say. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that by eating brown rice once a week cuts the risk by two fifths, while having cooked green vegetables at least once a day reduces it by a quarter.

The study took data from a survey of nearly 3,000 people taken 25 years ago who were asked how often they ate certain foods. The participants were then asked to complete a follow-up survey which focused on whether they developed polyps. It was noted that around a sixth of participants confirming that they had. The type of food they had eaten over the last 25 years was analysed, and the data was adjusted to take into account possible hereditary conditions, how active people were and whether they smoked, drank or ate certain unhealthy foods. It is thought that the high fibre in lentils, brown rice and many pulses aids the bowel in reducing the risk of developing bowel cancer as it stops polyps from forming.

The author of the study, Dr Yessenia Tantamango, which was published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, said that, “Pulses, dried fruits, and brown rice all have a high content of fibre, known to dilute potential carcinogens. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain detoxifying compounds, which would improve their protective function. Eating these foods is likely to decrease your risk for colon polyps, which would in turn decrease your risk for colorectal cancer. Our study confirms the results of past studies that have been done in different populations analysing risks for colon cancer.” So now we know, eat your greens and make sure you include a great deal of fibre in your diet for a healthy colon.

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