Beans and brown rice 'could cut bowel cancer risk'

A diet rich in pulses, brown rice, dried fruit and green vegetables could cut the risk of bowel cancer by up to a third, researchers claim.

Pulses reduce bowel cancer risk

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A study by scientists at Loma Linda University in California found that those who consume pulses like kidney beans or lentils at least three times a week reduced their risk of developing potentially cancerous polyps by a third.

Plenty of brown rice reduced the chances of bowel cancer by two fifths and cooked green vegetables as part of the daily diet slashed the risk by a quarter.

A portion of dried fruit at least three times a week was also found to be beneficial.

Researchers used data from a survey of nearly 3,000 people taken 25 years ago, in which volunteers were asked how much and how often they ate certain foods.

A follow-up survey asked whether the same participants had developed polyps.

Adjusting the data to take other factors, such as exercise, diet, alcohol and smoking, the researchers found that the high fibre, pulse-rich diet had a significant effect on bowel cancer risk.

Dr Yessenia Tantamango, who led the study, wrote: "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."

What do you think - will you take the advice on board and up your weekly pulse portions? Let us know below...