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Certain Foods May Reduce Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Researchers from Loma Linda University in California recently published a study suggesting that adding more fiber to your diet via legumes, dried fruit and brown rice may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

The findings were published in Nutrition and Cancer on May 4, 2011.

The study began with the Adventist Health Survey-1, which took place from 1976-1977 and asked questions about how often the 2,818 participants ate specific foods. The participants were then administered a follow up survey called Adventist Health Survey-2 from 2002-2005. The second phase of the survey included questions about physician identified colorectal polyps.

Over the 26 year period, 441 cases of rectal or colon polyps were diagnosed. The scientists adjusted for various factors that could distort the effects of the foods in the study, including smoking, family history, education, physical activity level, alcohol intake, constipation, sweets, pain medication, multi-vitamins, and different food variables.

Out of the 25 foods and food groups identified, only legumes, dried fruits, cooked green vegetables, and brown rice were linked to a decreased risk of colon polyps. Specifically, consuming legumes 3 times a week led to a 33% reduced risk, brown rice once a week resulted in a 40% reduced risk, cooked vegetables at least once a day showed a 24% reduction, and dried fruit at least 3 times a week showed a 26% reduction.

Scientists believe that the high fiber content of dried fruits, legumes, and brown rice could be the acting agent, as fiber is known to dilute carcinogens. Additionally, green vegetables have many detoxifying properties which could improve their protective function.

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