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The benefits of eating beans

Jan 13, 2020 |

The more you eat, the more you lower your risk of certain cancers.

Beans have more servings of fiber than any other vegetable. One single serving will give you 20 percent of your daily recommended fiber.

Researchers in Japan did a seven-year study. They studied more than 43,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 that had high cancer rates and ate little fiber. The more fiber they got from beans, the lower the risk of colon cancer, especially in men, became. It was the bean fiber that impacted the colon cancer statistics more than any other source of fiber.

Other research indicates that the fiber in beans like garbanzo’s actually keep your body from absorbing carcinogens. When you take in less carcinogens, the less damage is done to your cells, tissues, and other organs. Less damage equates to lower cancer risk in the long run. It’s too bad that the same cannot be said for ingesting flesh foods.

Beans contain phytochemicals, which naturally fight cancer and free radicals, which ruin your cells and tissues through oxidation. The phytochemicals neutralize the free radicals before they do damage.

Greek researchers tested extracts from 11 different legumes (beans are legumes) and found that all of them neutralized free radicals. Not only that, but most of them also protected DNA from oxidative damage, which more or less explains the key to beans’ anti-cancer potential.

What about beans helping women thwart breast cancer? In a study of 90,000 young nurses, the ones who ate beans or lentils at least twice a week were less likely to develop breast cancer.

The experts assumed that the flavonols, again phytochemicals, block the free radicals, prevent oxidative damage to the cells, and encourage cancerous cells to die. All you have to do is to work at least two servings of beans and lentils into your weekly diet.

We all know there’s quite a fad about cutting carbs. If you are concerned, at all, about colon cancer, fagetaboutit.

The carbs in beans are a unique kind that the body cannot digest. As such, they wind up fermenting in your colon, thanks to the bacteria living in your gut. The fermentation produces a compound called butyrate that basically squashes inflammation and the abnormal cell growth that can lead to cancer. In addition, the indigestible carbs help give beans a low glycemic index, meaning a low risk of colon cancer. This is the super benefit of eating low glycemic index foods.

Theory leads to subjectivity. The researchers decided to put their theories to work. They took people that previously had colon polyps removed, changed their diets to include more cooked, dry beans, and after four years, those that ate the most beans were 65 percent less likely to see their polyps return.

All beans work, be it baked, pinto, kidney, navy, white, black, garbanzo, human (only kidding), or lima –  all cut colon cancer risk. The more legumes that men eat the less likely they are to get prostate cancer. Three major studies found that eating lots of legumes, including beans, lentils, and split peas, dropped prostate cancer risk between 29 and 38 percent. If flesh foods are eliminated altogether, those percentages climb incredibly.

Another weapon against cancer is the folate found in B vitamins, which beans are a great source of. Eating high-folate foods reduces the risk of pancreatic and colon cancer. In addition, the folate helps to build and repair DNA. Too little leads to DNA damage and supplements will not provide the protection that folate-rich foods do.

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