Beans are one of the best sources of plant protein and provide an excellent amount of fiber, but they are also an important part of a nutritious diet because they have cancer fighting potential as well. A group of researchers at Colorado State University showed that beans are natural cancer killers. They noted that unlike vegetables, in which the more colorful ones typically contain more phytonutrients and disease fighting power, white kidney beans have greater impact on cancer cells than navy beans, and that more colorful beans have milder effects.
In other research, the dietary habits of more than 490,000 people were followed and compared with their impact on risk of head and neck cancers, which include cancer of the mouth, throat, and larynx. Foods that were found to be especially protective against these cancers included beans, carrots, and tomatoes, among others.
A Loma Linda University also reported that people who ate beans at least three times a week had a 33% reduced risk of colon polyps (which often lead to colon cancer). A cancer prevention diet should include a variety of beans, which can be enjoyed in soups, salads, casseroles, and even on their own.
Freedman ND et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and head and neck cancer risk in a large United States prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer 2008 May 15; 122(10): 2330-36
Tantamango YM et al. Foods and food groups associated with the incidence of colorectal polyps: the Adventist Health Study. Nutr Cancer 2011 May; 63(4): 565-72