An extensive analysis of studies that looked at pulse consumption (beans, lentils, soya, chickpeas, peas) and the risk of colorectal cancer showed interesting results. People who eat more pulses have a lower risk of this type of cancer. In particular, both the intake of fibre from pulses and the intake of soya were associated with a lower colorectal cancer risk.
Pulses are extremely nutritious, providing protein, vitamin E, vitamin B, selenium and lignans (plant chemical compounds) that have potential cancer-prevention effects. In addition, their protective properties were attributed mainly to compounds called flavonoids, which can inhibit the growth of tumour cells. Pulses are also rich in fibre that increases stool bulk, promotes bowel movements, dilutes potential carcinogens in the gut and encourages good bacteria.
Zhu B et al., 2015. Dietary legume consumption reduces risk of colorectal cancer: evidence from a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Scientific Reports. 5: 8797.