TUESDAY, Aug. 9, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- People who regularly eat legumes, brown rice, cooked green vegetables and dried fruit have a reduced risk of colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer.
That's the finding of California researchers who analyzed data from 2,818 people who were followed for 26 years. During that time, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were detected among the participants.
The risk of polyps was 40 percent lower among those who ate brown rice at least once a week and 33 percent lower among those who eat legumes (a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils) at least three times a week, the Loma Linda University team found.
Eating dried fruit three times or more a week, compared to less than once a week, was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk. Eating cooked green vegetables once a day or more, vs. less than five times a week, was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk, according to the report published online in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.
"Eating these foods is likely to decrease your risk for colon polyps, which would in turn decrease your risk for colorectal cancer," study author Dr. Yessenia Tantamango, a postdoctoral research fellow, said in a university news release.
"While a majority of past research has focused on broad food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, in relation to colon cancer, our study focused on specific foods, as well as more narrowed food groups, in relation to colon polyps, a precursor to colon cancer. Our study confirms the results of past studies that have been done in different populations analyzing risks for colon cancer," Tantamango said.
"Legumes, dried fruits and brown rice all have a high content of fiber, known to dilute potential carcinogens," Tantamango noted. "Additionally, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain detoxifying compounds, which would improve their protective function."
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about colon polyps.