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August 2, 2011
LOMA LINDA, Calif.Consumption of legumes and brown rice was linked to a reduced risk of colon polyps, according to research at Loma Linda University. Specifically, researchers found that eating legumes at least three times a week and brown rice at least once a week was linked to a reduced risk of colon polyps by 33 percent and 40 percent, respectively. The studied also showed that high consumption of cooked green vegetables and dried fruit was associated with greater protection.
"Eating these foods is likely to decrease your risk for colon polyps, which would in turn decrease your risk for colorectal cancer," says lead author Yessenia Tantamango, MD, a post-doctoral research fellow with Adventist Health Study-2 at Loma Linda University. "While a majority of past research has focused on broad food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, in relation to colon cancer, our study focused on specific foods, as well as more narrowed food groups, in relation to colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer. Our study confirms the results of past studies that have been done in different populations analyzing risks for colon cancer."
Results also showed that consuming cooked green vegetables once a day or more, as compared to less than five times a week, was associated with a 24 percent reduction in the risk of rectal/colon polyps. Consuming dried fruit three times a week or more, versus less than once a week, was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk.
"Legumes, dried fruits, and brown rice all have a high content of fiber, known to dilute potential carcinogens," Dr. Tantamango says. "Additionally, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain detoxifying compounds, which would improve their protective function."
Researchers analyzed data from 2,818 subjects who participated in Adventist Health Study-1 (administered from 1976-77) and who answered a follow-up survey 26 years later from Adventist Health Study-2. The first survey asked respondents to indicate how often, on average, they consumed specific foods. The follow-up survey asked respondents who had undergone colonoscopies to indicate physician-diagnosed colorectal polyps. During the 26-year follow-up, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were identified.
Dr. Tantamango says there is a need for future studies to examine foods shown to reduce the risk of colon polyps, since it is possible that interactions between various nutrients with anti-cancerous properties will be better able to explain these findings.
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