I've said it before and I'll say it again...complex carbs aren't evil. They make you feel fuller longer and give you energy.
And believe it or not, they may actually be foods that help prevent cancer.
A brand new study found eating just ONE TYPE of complex carb once a week might reduce your risk of colon polyps by a whopping 40 percent. And that's good news, because some colon polyps -- given time -- can turn into colon cancer.
Researchers found that three other types of foods that help prevent cancer too!
How you can protect yourself against precancerous growths
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. I'm not a fatalist...but this problem is only going to get bigger and bigger as more of us eat fewer complex carbs.
Complex carbs are essential to a healthy diet. Unlike simple carbs -- found in sweet, sugary products -- complex carbs take longer to digest.
One reason for this is that unrefined complex carbs contain lots of fiber. Sure, fiber helps to bulk up your stools. Everyone knows that is good for colon health. But did you know that it also dilutes harmful carcinogens lurking in your bowels?
You better believe it does!
So even if you have a minor lapse in willpower and eat a bunch of French fries...eat plenty of fiber-rich complex carbs the next day. It will help dilute the bad stuff.
So which complex carb foods are best? Here's what scientists discovered...
Four foods prevent polyps
The recent study followed nearly 3,000 men and women living in the U.S. for 26 years. At the beginning of the study, scientists asked the volunteers to fill out a very detailed survey about specific foods they ate on a weekly basis.
Then, 26 years later, the scientists checked back in on their volunteers. They found that 441 of the men and women developed rectal or colon polyps.
Researchers then analyzed data, taking into account certain risk factors such as smoking and obesity. And here's what they found...
First off, men and women who ate cooked green vegetables every day reduced their risk of developing polyps by 24 percent. Plus, men and women who ate dried fruit three times a week or more reduced their risk 26 percent. And volunteers who ate legumes at least three times a week cut their risk by 33 percent.
And best of all...
Men and women who ate brown rice just least once a week reduced their risk of colon polyps by a whopping 40 percent!
It just goes to show you how taking simple steps to find foods that help prevent cancer, such as brown rice, can really make an impact on your health. Always go for organic brown rice. It's a little harder to find and takes the longest to cook...but it's by far your healthiest form of rice.
Now, let's take a closer look at legumes...
Beans lower prostate cancer risk too
In the study, volunteers who regularly ate legumes got cut their polyp risk by almost ¼. Not bad, really. But legumes aren't just good for your colon. Two recent studies suggest they may also protect men against prostate cancer.
The first study followed more than 58,000 men living in the Netherlands. Researchers found that men with the highest intake of legumes had a 29 percent lower prostate cancer risk (compared to non-legume eaters). The second study compared 1,600 men with prostate cancer to 1,600 men without the disease. Researchers found that men who ate the most legumes had a prostate cancer risk 38 percent lower than their non-legume-eating counterparts did.
Researchers know that fiber in these complex carbs is good for your colon...but they think something else may be at work too when it comes to prostate cancer.
You see, legumes contain phytoestrogens. These plant-based chemicals mimic the estrogen hormone in a man's body. And even mainstream experts believe eating more of them may help men prevent prostate cancer.
Technically, legumes are plants with seed pods that split in half. So foods that help prevent cancer include all types of beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. Now, I have to admit, I'm not a pea lover. (Must have been all the split pea soup my mother made me eat.) But I do like beans. I add them to salads, tacos, and even pasta sauce.
One of my favorite dishes to make is escarole and beans. First, sauté onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a pan. Then add a chopped head of escarole and some white cannellini beans. Place a lid on the sauté pan and let steam it for just a minute or two.