By Joel Fuhrman MD
Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the United States, and it is the 2nd most deadly cancer. Proper nutrition can dramatically cut colon cancer risk. Numerous studies have found beans to significantly decrease the risk of colon cancer.
A six year study tracking over 32,000 individuals found that those who ate beans, peas, or lentils only twice a week decreased their risk of colon cancer by 50%. If they cut their chance of colon cancer in half by eating beans twice a week, imagine the benefit of eating beans daily!
Beans’ unique composition makes them a dietary wonder. Beans are rich in fiber and resistant starch and are not broken down by enzymes in the small intestine. They pass into the large intestine where bacteria ferment them into short chain fatty acids such as butyrate. Butyrate protects against colon cancer in many different ways:
• Butyrate halts cancer cell growth and causes cancer cell death. .
• Butyrate increases the expression of detoxifying enzymes and limits DNA damage due to oxidative stress.
• Butyrate inhibits tumors from acquiring a blood supply.7
• Butyrate has anti-inflammatory affects. .7
I recommend eating at least one cup of beans a day. Not only do they protect against colon cancer, they stabilize blood sugar to help you feel satisfied, which helps to prevent between-meal cravings. There are a variety of beans to choose from: chickpeas, black-eyed peas, black beans, lima beans, pinto beans, lentils, red kidney beans, cannellini beans and many more. They can be flavored and spiced in lots of interesting ways. Add beans to soups, salads, dips, burgers, or explore the Recipe Guide on the Member Center of DrFuhrman.com for great bean recipes.