London: People who eat pulses such as kidney beans or lentils at least three times a week are less likely to develop bowel cancer, a new study has claimed.
Researchers at the Loma Linda University in California found that diets rich in beans, pulses and brown rice cut the risk of developing colon polyps -- small growths in the lining of the bowel that can become cancerous --by up to 40 percent.
They found that eating brown rice once a week cuts the risk by two fifths, while having cooked green vegetables at least once a day reduces it by a quarter.
Eating dried fruit at least three times a week was also found to be cutting the risk of developing the growths by a similar amount, a newspaper reported.
The study, based on the data of a survey of nearly 3,000 people 25 years ago, is one of the first to look at which specific foods can cut the risk of bowel cancer.
Participants at that time were asked to complete a follow-up survey focused on whether they developed polyps, with around a sixth of participants confirming that they had.
The data was adjusted to take into account possible hereditary conditions, how active people were and whether they smoked, drank or ate certain unhealthy foods.
Study author Dr Yessenia Tantamango said that the high fibre content in these foods helped make them potent weapons in the fight against bowel cancer.
Dr Tantamango added: "Pulses, dried fruits, and brown rice all have a high content of fibre, known to dilute potential carcinogens.
"Eating these foods is likely to decrease your risk for colon polyps, which would in turn decrease your risk for colorectal cancer.
"Our study confirms the results of past studies that have been done in different populations analysing risks for colon cancer."
The new study was published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer.