Gloria Hunniford talks about her daughter's battle with cancer
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Cancer describes a condition in which some of your cells start to grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Some people suffer from Lynch syndrome which means they have a high hereditary risk of this condition. However, a study, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, suggests that even their risk could be modified by diet.
Although the famous saying – an apple a day keeps the doctor away – might be true, bananas seem to be also very potent when it comes to cancer.
The sweet fruit was found to reduce cancer risk by more than half as long as you opt for the green, starchy stuff.
Led by experts at the Universities of Newcastle and Leeds, the study discovered that starchy foods could cut the risk of some cancers by a whopping 60 percent.
The researchers gave participants with a high hereditary risk of cancer foods packed with resistant starch.
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This type of starch is contained within unripe fruit. All the study subjects were given a daily dose of the starch, equivalent to one unripe banana, for about two years.
Looking at almost 1,000 patients with Lynch syndrome, the researchers found that the starch reduced the risk of cancers developing in various parts of the body by up to 60 percent.
The effect was especially pronounced for upper gastrointestinal cancers such as oesophageal, gastric, biliary tract, pancreatic and duodenum cancers.
However, one cancer that didn’t seem to be impacted by the starch was bowel cancer.
Between 1999 and 2005, almost 1,000 participants started to take either resistant starch in a powder form every day or a placebo.
While there was no overall difference between those who had taken the starch and those who had not, the follow-up still found something exciting.
During the follow-up, there were just five new cases of cancers among the 463 participants who had taken the resistant starch.
In contrast, the placebo group, which comprised of 455 participants, had 21 new cases of cancer.
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Professor John Mathers, an expert in human nutrition at Newcastle, said: “We found that resistant starch reduces a range of cancers by over 60 percent.
“The effect was most obvious in the upper part of the gut.
“This is important as cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract are difficult to diagnose and often are not caught early on.”
He explained that the dose of resistant starch used in the study was roughly equivalent to one unripe banana.
However, if you’re not a fan of bananas, resistant starch is also found in the likes of oats, cereals, peas and beans.
The researchers concluded that while the study is “exciting”, more research is currently needed.
What’s more, the researchers hope the findings could also be beneficial to those who don’t have Lynch syndrome.
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