Lead author Dr. Yessenia Tantamango, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Adventist Health Study-2 at Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues analyzed data from 2,818 subjects who participated in Adventist Health Study-1, administered from 1976-1977, and the follow-up Adventist Health Study-2.
The first survey asked respondents about specific foods and the follow-up survey asked respondents who had undergone colonoscopies to indicate physician-diagnosed colorectal polyps.
During the 26-year follow-up period, 441 cases of rectal/colon polyps were identified. Eating brown rice at least once a week was associated with a 40 percent decreased risk of colon polyps -- a precursor to colon cancer, Tantamango says.
In addition, the study published in Nutrition and Cancer, found eating legumes -- peas, beans, lentils, lupins, carob, soy and peanuts -- at least three times a week was associated with colon polyps by 33 percent, while consuming cooked green vegetables once a day or more was associated with a 24 percent reduction of colon polyps and dried fruit eaten three times a week or more was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk.
"Legumes, dried fruits, and brown rice all have a high content of fiber, known to dilute potential carcinogens," Tantamango says in a statement. "Additionally, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, contain detoxifying compounds, which would improve their protective function."