Beans by any other name are cancer fighters

vegetarian ironInteresting synergy of the Universe – I’m eating a healthy serving of pinto beans doused with substantial spoonfuls of salsa and open my mail.  Lo and behold, the Dry Bean Quarterly.  Now, you think I kid you, but you never know what finds home in a dietitian’s mailbox.

With many of us either eating to prevent or recover from disease, I was curious to read that eating beans reduces cancer risk.  In the Nurses’ Health Study II, eating common beans (as opposed to soybeans, which are oily) and lentils was associated with a significant reduction in breast cancer risk.  Significant in research is powerful – it might be a small change in a large population but the change rates high on the board.

Dr. Henry Thompson, the author of the Dry Bean Quarterly, did a pre-clinical trial of his own – just to see if the change in risk was real.  It’s keen that a food staple like beans that offers a rich source of protein, resistant starch (not as readily taken up in the bloodstream, thereby keeping blood sugar more constant), and soluble fiber can also keep our breasts cancer-free!  The results of his study showed that cancer cells were inhibited by eating beans.  Hence, he now recommends at least one-half cup of beans or lentils daily, and as much as 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans a day if you’re adventurous.  For more info, log onto

Beans, beans, good for your body, the you more you eat, the more you rest — with satisfaction that you’ve done a lot in preventing this disease.

7 Responses to “Beans by any other name are cancer fighters”

  1. This is a wonderful website. I am a newbie vegan. Actually I am “Becoming” vegan. My husband has agreed and I am so excited to find this website as my husband has type 2 diabetes due to his exposure to angent orange in Vietnam. He currently is on insulin. It is my goal to get him off the insulin shots. Does anyone know if that is possible?

    Thank you,

    • Christel

      It is possible, but every person is different and how the body responds is unique. Type 2 diabetes isn’t necessarily insulin-dependent, but I’m not sure how much damage agent orange has done. It doesn’t mean that he is doing anything wrong if he isn’t able to get off insulin shots. It is a great goal and the many benfits with this healthy lifestyle approach are enough to make it worth all the effort.

  2. Dalaine,

    I, too, am becoming a vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian for several years because I want to reduce my risk of breast cancer. I follow Dr. Bob Arnot’s Breast Cancer Prevention Diet.

    I’ve switched to veganism after reading Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. Several studies and his own patients’ experiences have encouraged Dr. Barnard to advocate a low-fat, low-g.i., vegan diet. Although I’m not diabetic or pre-diabetic, I have become a vegan to encourage my mother, who is pre-diabetic, to do the same. I think she and your husband can both benefit. And there are certainly benefits to people like us. Good luck to you and your husband!


  3. I am a diabetic II taking insulin and metformin. I am also 60 pounds over weight. I am starting to become vegetarian as advised by my doctor. Where do I start? Where can I get the book by Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes? Thank-you Sandra.

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Diana Cullum-Dugan, RDN, LDN

Diana Cullum-Dugan, registered dietitian, nutrition therapist and yoga teacher in private practice since 2007, emphasizes a partnership with clients and supports them through exploration of triggers and unconscious behaviors to identify deep-seated patterns that do not align with their internal and conscious goals. Diana recognizes strengths, goals, frustrations, and needs of her clients. Through this, she guides clients to discover their own innate ability to create balance and harmony at every level of their being and to establish realistic expectations and goals based on their own understanding of their needs. In that effort, the change they seek begins to happen.

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