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10 Foods That Discourage Colon Polyps

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Colon polyps

Nutritious, fiber-rich foods have long been associated with regular bowel function and improved digestive health. Recent research suggests that the effects of these foods may be more beneficial than previously thought, especially with regard to the development of colon polyps. Colon, or colorectal, polyps are small fleshy growths inside the lining of the large intestine or rectum. Many types are benign. Others, referred to as pre-malignant, can develop into colorectal cancer — one of the leading causes of death in both North America and Western Europe. Certain foods promote colon health and may have such a dramatic impact as to even discourage polyp formation. Let’s take a look at ten of them.

1. Chicken (Poultry)

The Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health identified a link between poultry consumption, specifically during adolescence, and reduced chance of developing colorectal polyps. In fact, substituting red meat for poultry was linked to a 41% reduction in the risk of rectal and advanced polyps! [1] Plus, chicken provides quality lean protein and is rich in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and selenium. Just make sure to choose vegetarian fed, range-free, organic chicken.

2. Fish

A stop by the fish market may also protect your colon’s health. A study found the fatty acids in fish reduced the chance of developing colorectal polyps in individuals with a family history. [2] The fatty acids in fish also encourage overall digestive health, not to mention benefits for the brain, heart and vascular system.

3. Almonds

Almonds are ultra popular and it’s easy to see why. One serving of almonds contains 100% of the recommended daily allowance of magnesium. Research suggests that individuals with sufficient magnesium intake enjoy a reduced risk of polyp formation. [3] Of course, almonds also contain fiber, quality fatty acids and are packed with vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, and potassium.

4. Yogurt, and Cheese

It has to be organic, but yogurt and cheese contribute to colon health. A Greek study specifically linked yogurt with a lesser incidence of colorectal polyps. [4] Although the mechanisms for success were not determined, the probiotic effect is known to encourage digestive health by maintaining balanced intestinal flora. This is known to defend against inflammatory bowel disease, which has been linked to colorectal polyps.

5. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, collard greens, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables offer high concentrations of folate. This B vitamin is necessary for DNA synthesis and repair. Without adequate folate, the process can break down and lead to serious health risks. Researchers at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health have noted individuals with the highest folate levels enjoy a significantly reduced risk of polyp formation and colorectal cancer. [5]

6. Legumes

Veggies such as alfalfa, peas, peanuts, lentils and soybeans are a great way to protect the colon. Eat these legumes and reduce your risk of colorectal polyps, according to research. The higher your intake, the less your risk. [6]

7. High Fiber

High fiber foods have long been known for their role in keeping the digestive tract healthy. Beans, artichoke, and oats are high quality sources of dietary fiber. Studies of people who regularly eat fiber-rich foods reported a 35% reduction in developing polyps compared to those who only occasionally consume dietary fiber. For those who have had polyps, increasing fiber consumption has been linked to reduced polyp recurrence. [7]

8. Pineapple

Bromelain occurs naturally in the fruit and stem of a pineapple. In clinical trials, bromelain fought colorectal cancer cells while inhibiting polyp formation. [8] Of course, pineapple provides a high dose of vitamin C, necessary for proper cell function. It also contains folate.

9. Green Tea

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the active polyphenol in green tea, has been extensively studied. Now, scientists recommend the EGCG in green tea as a preventative for polyps. [9] A Japanese study identified a significant effect in colorectal polyp prevention when drinking 10 cups of green tea per day. [10] Not to mention, a couple cups of green tea is excellent support for a healthy diet in its own right.

10. Curry

Quercetin, the potent flavonoid found in onions, has been associated with reducing polyp formation in individuals with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), a family history of developing polyps. A study combined quercetin and curcumin, the potent found in turmeric, and found this combination reduced the number of polyps by 60% and the size of the polyps by 50%! [11] For maximum effect, when making curry (of which turmeric is a key ingredient) make sure it has onions!

All of the foods above contain essential nutrients for colon health. While these can be part of your polyp discouragement plan, it needs to be mentioned that avoiding the foods that encourage polyp formation also needs to be part of the game plan.

Have you dealt with polyps? What measures did you take? Please leave a comment below and share your experience.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Nimptsch K, Bernstein AM, Giovannucci E, Fuchs CS, Willett WC, Wu K. Dietary intakes of red meat, poultry, and fish during high school and risk of colorectal adenomas in women. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jul 15;178(2):172-83. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt099. Epub 2013 Jun 19.
  2. Fabian CJ, Kimler BF. Marine-derived omega-3 Fatty acids. Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2013:97-101. doi: E10.1200/EdBook_AM.2013.33.97.
  3. Wark PA, Lau R, Norat T, Kampman E. Magnesium intake and colorectal tumor risk: a case-control study and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Sep;96(3):622-31. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.030924. Epub 2012 Aug 1.
  4. Karagianni V, Merikas E, Georgopoulos F, Gikas A, Athanasopoulos N, Malgarinos G, Peros G, Triantafillidis JK. Risk factors for colorectal polyps: findings from a Greek case-control study. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2010 Jul-Sep;114(3):662-70.
  5. Duthie SJ. Folate and cancer: how DNA damage, repair and methylation impact on colon carcinogenesis. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2011 Feb;34(1):101-9. doi: 10.1007/s10545-010-9128-0. Epub 2010 Jun 11.
  6. Ramadas A, Kandiah M. Food intake and colorectal adenomas: a case-control study in Malaysia. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):925-32.
  7. Sansbury LB, Wanke K, Albert PS, Kahle L, Schatzkin A, Lanza E; Polyp Prevention Trial Study Group. The effect of strict adherence to a high-fiber, high-fruit and -vegetable, and low-fat eating pattern on adenoma recurrence. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Sep 1;170(5):576-84. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp169. Epub 2009 Jul 30.
  8. Romano B, Fasolino I, Pagano E, Capasso R, Pace S, De Rosa G, Milic N, Orlando P, Izzo AA, Borrelli F. The chemopreventive action of bromelain, from pineapple stem (Ananas comosus L.), on colon carcinogenesis is related to antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Oct 1. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300345.
  9. Stingl JC, Ettrich T, Muche R, Wiedom M, Brockmöller J, Seeringer A, Seufferlein T. Protocol for minimizing the risk of metachronous adenomas of the colorectum with green tea extract (MIRACLE): a randomised controlled trial of green tea extract versus placebo for nutriprevention of metachronous colon adenomas in the elderly population. BMC Cancer. 2011 Aug 18;11:360. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-360.
  10. Fujiki H, Imai K, Nakachi K, Shimizu M, Moriwaki H, Suganuma M. Challenging the effectiveness of green tea in primary and tertiary cancer prevention. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2012 Aug;138(8):1259-70. doi: 10.1007/s00432-012-1250-y. Epub 2012 Jun 15.
  11. Cruz-Correa M, Shoskes DA, Sanchez P, Zhao R, Hylind LM, Wexner SD, Giardiello FM. Combination treatment with curcumin and quercetin of adenomas in familial adenomatous polyposis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Aug;4(8):1035-8. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Posted In: Colon Health,Colon Health Blog,Lifestyle Tips
  • Raji

    “In fact, substituting red meat meat for poultry was linked to a 41% reduction in the risk of rectal and advanced polyps!” Reads as if red meat is preferable. I presume you meant chicken is. I suggest a change in wording.
    Your site is very informative! I have just gotten my first bottle of Oxy-Powder…

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