Cooked green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and cabbage, eaten once a day or more, reduced risk of developing colon polyps by 24 percent in the Loma Linda study. “Each has different minerals and vitamins and also fiber that have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects,” says Tantamango. “Cooked green vegetables help detoxify the carcinogenic compounds in other foods.” Cooking appears to make the nutrients more available than eating the vegetables raw.
Eaten just three times a week, dried fruits lessened risk of polyps by 26 percent. They have more fiber than fresh, and fiber helps hurry food through the colon, shortening contact with cancerous components. Fiber also reduces the amount of insulin our bodies produce; insulin encourages all cells to grow, including cancerous ones.
Legumes like peas, beans and lentils are high in fiber, reducing insulin, and have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting compounds. ”Every cell that turns to cancer goes through steps, and one step is inflammation,” says Tantamango. In the study, legumes reduced polyp risk by 33 percent.
Brown rice just once a week lowered polyp risk by 40 percent. Top bowlfuls with stir-fried greens, and your colon’s delighted. Like legumes, dried fruits, and vegetables, brown rice has lots of protective fiber, says Tantamango: “In the study, we didn’t look at other high-fiber grains but any high-fiber food may reduce risk.”
Meat, especially red and processed meats, increases colon cancer risk: “Its iron has a carcinogenic effect,” says Tantamango. “If you eat meat, eat it only once a week, combining it with cooked green vegetables or legumes to reduce cancer risk.”
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