Try These Foods for Better Colon Health

Some of the best health advice around is to up your intake of legumes (beans) and switch out white rice for its brown cousin. Adding green vegetables and dried fruit to your regular diet is also adding healing foods to your repertoire. This story is about food cures, particularly those now proven to reduce your risk of colon polyps.

A new study found that eating legumes at least three times a week and brown rice at least once a week reduced the risk of colon polyps by 33% and 40%, respectively. The researchers went on to find out that cooked green veggies and dried fruit were also independently associated with greater protection.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Colon polyps are not cancerous, but they need to be removed, as they can lead down the road to cancerous tumors. The best way humans can deflect their risk of cancer is making wise food choices.

The cooked green vegetables, eaten once a day, were linked to a 24% reduced risk of polyps. The dried fruit, at three times a week or more, equaled a 26% lower risk. Legumes, dried fruits and brown rice all are rich in fiber, which is known to dilute potential carcinogens. And cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, bok choy and salad greens contain detoxifying compounds.

Old studies have found that eating too much red or processed meat increases one’s risk for colon cancer. But if legumes are present on the plate, they may help deflect that risk on their own.

The new study came from data gleaned from 2,818 people who were tracked for 26 years. In this time period, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were identified. Other risk factors were accounted for, such as a family history of colorectal cancer, exercise level, alcohol intake, smoking, constipation, intake of sweets, pain medication, and multivitamins, as well as different food variables. They went on to study 25 foods/food groups in particular.

And that is where they found the considerable protection afforded by legumes and brown rice, a whole grain. And toss in some steamed broccoli and a handful of dried apricots, and you have a whole lot more colon cancer protection.


Related articles of interest:

Combat Colon Polyps and Cancer With This “Ancient Food”

Clean Your Colon with Fiber and Other Digestive Nutrients

Are You At Risk For Digestive Disease?


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About the author


Dr. Victor Marchione received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years.

Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The Food Doctor newsletter.

Dr. Marchione has also served as Principal Investigator in at least a dozen clinical research projects relating to serious ailments such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Anonymous's picture

L. Washburn

Regarding colon health, I have found in my case, that eating whole grain oatmeal everyday, helped my digestive tract greatly. I started eating it for my colesterol; but, in addition to lowering my colesterol, it aided my bowels by making me more regular, etc. I also added more beans to my diet, as you mentioned, and this really does help if you eat them regularly. I eat beans and wholegrain oatmeal nearly everyday. In addition, they make me feel very satisfied when I eat them. Thanks for this good article. :)

Anonymous's picture


The red meat being tested was probably from antibiotic laden cattle.

I can't help but wonder if grain fed beef would have a negative effect on health. After all, grain fed beef has been around for hundreds of years and I'll bet it doen's have the same problems with the poisoned, mistreated cows we consume today.

Anonymous's picture


Eating too much red meat increases one’s risk for colon cancer? I think all that meat was from grain or corn fed animals that was given hormones and antibiotics. The staple of our ancient man's diet was red meat and there was not any colon or other type of cancers then. According to popular established nutritional biochemistry concepts, eating any type of rice or even legumes, dried fruits that contains a lot of sugar, will spike insulin secretion that leads to diabetes and weight gain and all that could increase the risk of heart disease. Personally, I am following ancient man pre-agricultural revolution diet eating only grass fed beef, grass fed organic dairy products, wild caught fish, free range chicken, organic cage-free eggs, organic vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. I feel great keeping healthy weight and have no more stomach digesting problems as gas and bloating.

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