If you’re a regular Healthier Talk visitor you may have already made a change in your diet that has slashed your risk of developing colon polyps by an incredible 40 percent.
We’ve encouraged you before to permanently remove nutritionally barren white rice from your shopping list and replace it with healthier choices like brown rice. And Healthier Talk contributor Dr. Edward Group gave us eight great reasons why brown rice is healthier than white rice.
But a study out of Loma Linda University in California has given us yet one more excellent reason to replace white rice with brown. Researchers concluded that eating brown rice at least once a week is linked with a 40 percent reduction in risk of developing potentially cancerous colon polyps.
Brown rice linked to dramatic drop in risk for colon polyps
When researchers crunched the data from 2,818 volunteers in the Adventist Health Study they uncovered this exciting finding. And the good news for those cutting back on carbs is that brown rice… an ancient food that dates back to sometime between 12,000 and 11,000 BP… isn’t the only food that could have a dramatic effect on your risk for developing polyps.
I’ll tell you more about those other foods in a moment, but first allow me to share a little background.
Polyps are raised or flat growths on the lining of the colon, also known as the large intestine. While some polyps are benign, they all have the potential to become cancerous.
And with colon cancer being the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, it’s easy to see that anything that could so drastically reduce your chances of developing these potentially life-threatening growths is going to cause a bit of a stir in the scientific community.
3 foods could protect against colon polyps
Volunteers in the Adventist study first answered a survey on their eating habits and how often they consumed specific foods in 1976 or 1977. Then, 26 years later, the same volunteers were asked to complete a follow-up questionnaire asking if they had undergone a colonoscopy and had been diagnosed with polyps by a physician.
During the 26-year follow-up period there were 441 confirmed cases of colorectal polyps. And after researchers took into account a wide variety of potentially data-skewing factors… including a family history of cancer, education level, physical-activity level, smoking and alcohol history, use of pain medications, and use of multivitamins… they found that several foods stood out as polyp-fighting superstars.
Besides brown rice, there were three more foods that were linked to a dramatically reduced risk of polyps…
- cooked green vegetables
- dried fruit
When cooked green vegetables showed up on the dining tables of volunteers once a day or more (as compared with less than five times a week), they had a 24 percent reduction in the risk of developing polyps. Eating legumes—such as peas, beans, and lentils—at least three times a week was linked to a 33 percent reduced risk.
And those volunteers who treated themselves to dried fruit at least three times a week… compared to those who only indulged less than once a week… walked away with a 26 percent drop in risk. (Just be sure to not overdo it with the dried fruit, of course, which tends to be high in sugar.)
Where there’s smoke there’s fire
Of course an observational study like this doesn’t prove a direct cause and effect relationship between these foods and the lower risk of polyps. But since the researchers were careful to account for outside factors that could have affected the data—and typically where you find smoke you also find fire—there’s a strong argument for including these foods in your own healthy eating plan.
If you have a family history of polyps or colorectal cancers—or if you’re overweight, don’t exercise enough or eat a less-than-optimal diet (and who doesn’t?)—making these small changes to your diet could literally save your life.
While an ounce of prevention might seem like a bit of a drag it’s sure as heck a whole lot easier than slogging through a pound of cure later.
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