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BEANS -- FOODS THAT FIGHT CANCER


OTHER FOODS THAT FIGHT CANCER


NOTE: No single food or food substances can protect you against cancer. But scientists believe that the right combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet may. Evidence is mounting that the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals in plant foods interact to provide extra cancer protection. This concept is called synergy. In addition, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low-energy-dense, low calorie foods and probably protect against weight gain. According to the Second Expert Report, experts believe that weight gain particularly obesity and overweight are implicated in the development of cancer. Eating a predominantly plant based diet can help prevent weight gain and therefore protect against those cancers whose risk is convincingly increased by higher body fat (namely cancers of the colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, pancreas, kidney, and breast in postmenopausal women). That is why AICR recommends that at least 2/3 of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and beans.

Beans

Beans (also known as legumes) include lentils and peas along with many other varieties. Soybeans fall into this category as well; their anti-cancer benefits are described in full in the soy section.

The active ingredients in beans that scientists believe may play a role in cancer prevention include: saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid. These compounds, called phytochemicals, are found naturally in plants and appear to protect our cells from damage that can lead to cancer.

In laboratory studies, saponins have shown the ability to inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells and slow the growth of tumors in several different tissues. Protease inhibitors have slowed the division of cancer cells and helped to prevent tumors from releasing substances called proteases that destroy nearby cells. Phytic acid has shown the ability to significantly slow the progression of tumors.

Beans are also rich in fiber. AICR's second expert report, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective, found probable evidence that foods containing dietary fiber, like beans, can decrease one’s risk of developing colorectal cancer.

SEE ALSO: THE COLOR OF BEANS -- COOKING WITH BEANS

The Research

AICR has funded research on the following topics relating to beans and the cancer-fighting components they contain. Click each topic to read a summary of the AICR-funded research studies performed to date.



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