Archive for January, 2010
Soy foods possess many potential anticancer properties because they contain at least seven substances that are believed to be anticarcinogens:
- isoflavones (soy estrogens)
- protease inhibitors
- phenolic acids
Asian diets are usually lower in total and saturated fat and higher in fiber and soy foods. These dietary differences could explain the lower rates of breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Other studies suggest that the isoflavones may inhibit cell division in tumors.
The soy isoflavone genistein is a potent antioxidant and inhibitor of a number of chemical reactions in the body. This allows genistein to slow the activity of several proteins that speed up tumor growth and decrease new blood vessel formation to the tumor. These inhibitions tend to protect against the growth of certain cancers that are related to hormone levels such as breast and prostate cancer. Genistein has been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells in the test tube.
For more information on soy’s role in breast cancer read the blog titled, “Soy and Women’s Health.” Soy foods contain so many ingredients possessing a variety of health benefits. Adding soy to your diet has been considered safe by the FDA, and research continues to support the claim that soy foods are among the healthiest foods you can put on the table. Try to find one soy food, such as soy nuts, you can consume daily.
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Soy foods are attractive for women who cannot or will not use hormone replacement therapy. Evidence has been shown that soy food intake can have the following benefits for women:
- Decreased risk for heart disease: For more information, check out the blog, “Soy for your Heart.”
- Decrease in menopausal symptoms
- Protection from osteoporosis
- Lower risk of breast cancer
- Lower risk of death and breast cancer recurrence in breast cancer patients
Research has found soy foods useful to treat menopause symptoms. The two major phytoestrogens found in soy, genistein and daidzein, have been shown to mimic the effects of estradiole (the major human female estrogen) and tamoxifen (an antiestrogen used to protect against the spread of breast cancer). Genistein has a mix of antiestrogen and proestrogen effects that help reduce menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women and protect against osteoporosis. Asian women have less osteoporosis than Western women even though the calcium intake of Asian women is lower; research suggests that this is due to the increased soy intake of Asian women.
In addition, genistein has been shown to inhibit the growth of human breast cancer cells in test tubes, and it slows the activity of several proteins that speed up tumor growth. According to the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study that was recently published, women in China who had breast cancer and a higher intake of soy food had an associated lower risk of death and breast cancer recurrence. The study concluded, “Soy food intake is safe and was associated with lower mortality and recurrence among breast cancer patients.” The study suggests that intake of 11 grams per day of soy offers protective benefits for long-term health.
For more information on breast health and the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study click on the following link: http://www.soyconference.com/magazines/jan10.pdf
So, enjoy soy milk on your cereal and in your coffee and tea. Have soy nuts as a tasty snack or select an energy bar with soy protein. Be chic and enjoy a healthy soy burger with all the trimmings. The choices are out there and making a healthy choice will feel great.
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High intakes of animal protein are associated with high rates of coronary heart disease. However, high intakes of soy protein are associated with low rates of the disease. Research shows that soy foods offer more protection for your heart than any other food that can be consumed.
- Soy foods reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke by lowering the bad LDL-cholesterol by 15 to 30 points and lowering triglycerides while raising the good HDL-cholesterol.
- They also lower blood pressure, thus reducing risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Soy foods contain isoflavones with potent antioxidant properties that act to protect the arteries from oxidized fats by preventing the oxidation of lipid particles.
- Soy foods act to reverse hardening of the arteries in a similar manner to the statin drugs. Evidence indicates that the combined use of soy protein, soluble fiber, and plant sterols have the potential to decrease serum LDL-cholesterol values by 25-30% which is equivalent to the effects of the statin drugs.
- They improve blood vessel health by helping the blood dilate to increase blood flow to the heart or brain.
After reviewing clinical studies of soy foods, the FDA approved the health claim that daily soy intake is heart-healthy. There is an overwhelming amount of research supporting the claim that soy can help prevent heart disease.
For a happy heart, enjoy two servings of soy protein per day, as I do. Increasing your soy food intake can provide you with long-term heart protection; the sooner you start enjoying soy the better for your health.
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Soy foods have been used around the world for thousands of years because so many people realize its healthy qualities. Extensive research documents the many health benefits of soy foods; the FDA approved the health claim that daily soy intake is heart-healthy. Soy foods are produced from the soybeans grown in the United States and other countries. These foods are nutrient-rich foods that contain the following:
- high-quality protein
- healthy fats
- plant estrogens (isoflavones)
- vitamins and minerals
The advantages of whole soy foods, as opposed to foods with soy ingredients, are that the whole soybean has many health promoting benefits in addition to those provided by the ingredients alone. Some popular whole soy foods include whole soybeans, green soybeans, also known as edamame, and dry roasted soy nuts. In order to experience the benefits of soy foods, two of the following serving sizes are recommended per day: ½ cup of cooked soybeans, 2/3 cup of green soybeans in the pod, 1 oz of roasted soy nuts, one glass of soy milk, ½ cup tofu, or six grams of isolated soy protein.
Research shows the following conditions and diseases benefit from soy foods:
- Coronary heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure: View blog, “Soy for your Heart” for more details.
- Menopause, breast cancer, osteoporosis: Read blog, “Soy and Women’s Health,” for more information.
- Cancer: See upcoming blog, “Cancer Fighting Food: Soy.”
- Diabetes, obesity, kidney disease: Upcoming blog titled, “Soy for Renal Health,” will have more details.
Soy foods are one of the healthiest foods you can put on the table and are a tasty way to add variety to your diet.
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