Originally published March 30 2011
Legume consumption offers powerful protection against cancer
by T.M. Hartle
(NaturalNews) Scientific research continues to shed light on the connection between our dietary choices and our risk of developing cancer. Researchers have found powerful anti-cancer effects from phytic acid, a compound found in legumes, and from butyrate, a short chain fatty acid produced in the lumen of the colon as a result of legume consumption. Legumes provide powerful nutrition as well as potent anti-cancer effects that could dramatically reduce cancer rates and improve overall health.
Butyrate is produced in the lumen of the colon as a result of bacterial fermentation of resistant starches found in legumes. Researchers have conducted in vitro studies that have shown butyrate to have a wide range of chemo-preventative properties including a reduction in the proliferation of cancer cells and blood vessels that feed tumors. It also enhances immune system functions and has anti-inflammatory effects in colo-rectal cancer cells. A study in the Journal of Nutrition compared subjects with the lowest intake of dry beans to the highest intake; those with the highest intake had a highly significant 65% reduction in the recurrence of advanced colon polyps. Butyrate is not the only powerful result of legume consumption; legumes also contain antioxidants and constituents that provide even further cancer protection.
Phytic acid has received a lot of bad press lately because it is claimed to bind with minerals and cause mineral deficiencies. Concerns about phytic acid and mineral deficiencies are unfounded. Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found increased bone density with increased consumption of foods containing phytate, such as legumes. Another study in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine & Biology concluded that IP6 or phytic acid has no negative effects on mineral status and that adequate amounts in the diet are 'remarkable and must be favorably considered.' There is a significant body of research available to show that phytic acid has significant health benefits including anti-cancer properties.
Phytic acid has been shown in several animal studies to have potent anti-neoplastic action against breast, colon, liver, prostate and skin cancers, leukemia and sarcomas. In a systematic review published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine researchers came to the conclusion, 'There is a large body of animal evidence to show that phytic acid may have a role in both the prevention and treatment of many forms of cancer.' The Nurse's Health Study found that women eating four or more servings of legumes weekly had 35% fewer bowel polyps compared to women who only ate one serving per week. The scientific literature illustrates the profound benefits of consuming legumes on a regular basis as a cancer preventative measure; however, the benefits of legumes go far beyond protection against cancer.
Legumes are a powerhouse of nutrition, containing protein, iron, folate, B vitamins, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants. Legumes not only provide profound anti-cancer properties, but also stabilize blood sugar, provide satiation in a meal and should be a regular part of a healthy cancer preventative diet.
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1CDC. "Colorectal Cancer Statistics." Centers for Disease Control. November 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statist... (accessed February 2011
J Trace Element Med Biology15:221-8, 2001
About the authorT.M. Hartle has a Bachelors degree in Natural Health Science with a concentration in Clinical Nutrition as well as a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. She is a student midwife who teaches pregnancy nutrition courses to midwives and childbirth educators throughout the country. She has a certificate in the Essentials of raw culinary arts from Living Light Culinary Arts Institute and is the Owner and Chef of The Peaceful Kitchen. http://www.thepeacefulkitchen.blogspot.com
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