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Plant-based diet may reduce colon cancer risk

Category: Colon

Individuals may be able to drastically reduce their risk of receiving a positive colon cancer test by eating more legumes, brown rice and cooked green vegetables, according to a new study out of Loma Linda University.

All the food groups analyzed have high levels of fiber, which is known to dilute carcinogens. Additionally, green leafy vegetables have many antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which can neutralize potentially harmful molecules.

For the study, the researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 people about their diets and followed their health records for up to 26 years. The results showed that those who ate legumes three times per week were 33 percent less likely to develop colon polyps, which are small growths that often lead to colon cancer. Eating brown rice once per week was associated with a 40 percent polyp reduction and eating vegetables five times per week cut the risk by 24 percent.

"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, who led the study.

While fiber is the most likely nutrient responsible for the health benefits, Tantamango speculated that legumes may have other important minerals and further investigation is warranted.

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