We’ve all been told that different types of fruits and vegetables have different benefits that help us maintain our health.
A new international study has found that eating one fruit regularly can help reduce the risk of cancer, among those people who have a high hereditary risk of developing certain cancers.
The research which looked at almost 1000 patients with Lynch syndrome – a genetic condition that makes people predisposed to a range of cancers – and found that a regular intake of resistant starch could have a major preventative effect on the risk of cancer.
Here’s what you need to know about how eating bananas can help reduce risk of cancer.
How does eating green starchy bananas reduce risk of cancer?
Resistant starch – also known as fermented fibre – is a type of carbohydrate which feeds beneficial gut bacteria. It is found in green bananas.
By eating green bananas your body gets a regular dose of resistant starch, which has been found to reduce risk of cancers in some parts of the body by more than half, according to new research.
The study, which was published in Cancer Prevention Research, was led by experts at the Universities of Newcastle and Leeds.
It found that resistant starch, if taken regularly for an average of two years, had a positive effect on upper gastrointestinal cancers including oesophageal, gastric, biliary tract, pancreatic and duodenum cancers, which can be difficult to detect.
John Mathers, professor of human nutrition at Newcastle University explained: “Resistant starch isn’t digested in your small intestine, instead it ferments in your large intestine, feeding beneficial gut bacteria – it acts in effect, like dietary fibre in your digestive system. This type of starch has several health benefits and fewer calories than regular starch.”
He added: “We think that resistant starch may reduce cancer development by changing the bacterial metabolism of bile acids and reducing those types of bile acids that can damage our DNA and eventually cause cancer.”
What foods have resistant starch in them?
Besides green bananas, resistant starch is also found in foods such as peas, oats, cereal. beans and other starchy foods. You can also take resistant starch as a powder supplement.
In terms of bananas, experts recommend that eating one banana daily is the equivalent of one dose of resistant starch. The trick is to eat the bananas before they become too ripe or soft.
If eaten when slightly green, the starch in the bananas will resist breakdown and reach our bowels where it changes the type of bacteria that live there.
Previous research from the same study found that taking aspirin has almost the same effect as resistant starch, helping reduce risk of cancer in the large bowel by 50%.
However, more research is being conducted on the effects of both resistant starch and aspirin on reduce risk of cancers.