7 Foods That Help Prevent Colon Polyps
Learn how you can prevent colon polyps naturally by eating the right foods! The list below includes foods that can help prevent colon polyps from developing and that you can easily incorporate into your diet.
If you're looking for a great functional food to reduce your risk of intestinal polyps, think broccoli. Broccoli is the best natural source of sulforaphane, an extraordinary compound that has been shown to protect the intestines from polyps in animals. Not only can sulforaphane slow the growth of polyps, it also appears to be able to induce self-destruction of the harmful polyp cells (a process known as "apoptosis"). Broccoli sprouts, which are available at many health food stores, are a particularly rich source of sulforaphane, but also broccoli florets provide substantial amounts. Broccoli sprouts are typically eaten raw, but also broccoli florets should be eaten raw or only slightly cooked in order to maximize their polyp-fighting properties. According to one study, cooking may destroy as much as 90% of sulphoraphane. For more information, read the article Health Benefits of Broccoli.
#2: Red Peppers
Red peppers contain plenty of carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. But that's hardly their only colon cancer and colon polyp fighting feature. Red peppers are also a good source of N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a natural compound that has been found to have some anticancer properties. A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 62 participants, each of whom had had a colon polyp removed, found that those invididuals who were given 800 mg NAC daily had more normal cells in the biopsied rectum tissue than those in the placebo group. In addition to carotenoids and NAC, bell peppers contain some folate. When buying peppers, it is important to choose organically grown produce as conventionally grown peppers are at the top of the list of vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticides and other harmful chemicals (including carcinogenic substances).
This versatile culinary plant can provide a real health boost to anyone and to reduce the odds of developing colon polyps. Onions are one of the best natural sources of quercetin, a bioflavonoid that has shown promising potential for preventing and controlling the formation of intestinal polyps. As an additional bonus, the onion tops the list of vegetables that are least likely to contain significant amounts of pesticides and other potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
Turmeric, a spice that gives its yellow color to curries and many other foods, has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat a vast range of conditions and diseases. In recent years, also western medicine has started to pay greater attention to this extraordinary root plant of the ginger family, and studies suggest that turmeric can help prevent colon polyps. In one study, patients with five or more polyps in their lower intestinal track were administered 480 milligrams of curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, three times a day, together with 20 milligrams of the bioflavonoid quercetin. The average number of polyps in the patients decreased by 60 percent and the average size of polyps dropped by half after an average of six months.
Popeye was right: eat your spinach! The nutritional profile of spinach makes it an excellent health food and an important vegetable for anyone concerned about colon polyps. Spinach is considered one of the best vegetables for the entire digestive tract, and it is thought to be highly effective at cleansing and regenerating the intestinal tract. One of the gut health promoting compounds contained in spinach is magnesium which appears to be necessary for proper bowel movement. Mild deficiencies of magnesium are fairly common in Western countries, where consumption of processed foods is common, as processing significantly decrease the magnesium content of foods. Also intensive farming, practiced in many Western countries, depletes the soil of magnesium, thereby reducing the magnesium content of the plants growing in the soil.
Since ancient times, garlic has been used as a remedy for a vast range of ailments. Research has shown it to be effective at promoting cardiovascular health, but eating garlic on a regular basis may also help reduce to risk of colon cancer and the development of precancerous colon polyps. Most of garlic's health promoting effects have been attributed to allicin, a compound that is responsible for garlic's distinctive odor and flavor. To fully enjoy the health-promoting effects of garlic, allow crushed garlic sit for 10 minutes before eating or cooking — this leaves allicin enough time to form after crushing.
Although it is used much in the same way as salad greens, arugula is actually classified as a cruciferous vegetable along with the famous nutrition superstars broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Like the other cruciferous vegetables, this little vegetable with a nutty, peppery flavor is loaded with health promoting phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals, and thus makes a great substitute for lettuce. Arugula is a great source of glucosinolates which turn into isothiocyanates when the plant is chewed. Isothiocyanates have been shown to protect against colon polyps in some people. Further, arugula is loaded with calcium, and the calcium it contains is highly available to the body. This is because arugula, unlike many other calcium-rich plants, is low in oxalic acid which can interfere with the absorption of calcium.
See Also: Health Benefits of Arugula