A diet rich in leafy green vegetables can cut the risk of colon cancer by nearly half, according to a study carried out by researchers at Liverpool University in the UK.
Results from the study, published in Gastroenterology, showed that a daily intake of broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and sprouts, can reduce the cancer risk by 46 per cent.
The leafy green vegetables used in the research contain fibre with a high content of galactose, a sugar which is believed to help prevent proteins called lectins from binding to the lining of the colon and causing damage.
For the study, around 1,000 people, half of whom had colon cancer, were questioned on their diet. Those without the colon problems had a higher dietary intake of vegetables.
In a report by the BBC, Professor Jonathan Rhodes, who led the research said: "The stories about the benefits of a high fibre diet that have been circulating for years have typically oversimplified the situation so it is not surprising that there was confusion and contradictory reports.
"This study provides important evidence that the association between diet and colon cancer is mediated via specific food components rather than just by a general effect of fibre."
The report also highlighted the harmful effects of a diet high in calories and red meat.
The BBC claims that colon cancer causes around 20,000 deaths a year in the UK.