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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