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Role of Soy & Cancer in Women

Wednesday, March 07, 2012
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Isoflavones possess both a weak estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity. The anti-estrogenic ability blocks entry of estrogen into cancer receptors and thus protects women from developing breast or endometrial cancer. Pre-menopausal women are benefited eating soy since their estrogen levels are high. But the effect is not same in post menopausal women and excess soy intake can increase the risk of cancer.

Emerging evidence suggests that soy intake reduces cancer risk in Asian (China, Japan) but not in Western populations. This variation is ascribed to the form of isoflavones obtained in Asian and Western diets. The isoflavones from tofu, miso (soy paste), natto (fermented soy) and soymilk are better than just soy protein or flour added to foods. Moreover, early exposure to soy isoflavones from the prenatal, infancy, childhood and pubertal age can alter gene expression and suppress the risk of cancer in women.

 

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03 August, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar For some period now there has been widespread concern about the safety of soy food for women with breast cancer. Soy foods contain large amounts of isoflavones that are known to bind to estrogen receptors and have both estrogen-like and anti-estrogenic effects. Researchers assessed the effect of intake of soy isoflavones on 16,048 breast cancer survivors, who were diagnosed with cancer 13 months before the multi-institution collaborative study, the `After Breast Cancer Pooling Project.’ The results showed that "It may be beneficial for women to include soy food as part of a healthy diet, even if they have had breast cancer."

28 June, 2010 | Geetanjali | Reply

Geetanjali Dear Sonia
The proportion of wheat flour, soybeans and bengalgram is fine. Soybeans should be autoclaved or soaked and pressure cooked, and roasted or dried in sun and then ground before adding to wheat flour. This processing lowers the anti-nutritional components that inhibit absorption of nutrients and also prevents allergies in those who are prone to it. Soya granules, soy milk, or tofu are easier options to include soybeans in daily diet.

Geetanjali KelKar,PhD
Dietitian
Nutrition Vista

28 June, 2010 | Sonia | Reply

Sonia It is usually advised by dietitians to eat multigrain flour instead of just wheat flour. So I mix soy flour and bengal gram flour to wheat flour (1:1:3 respectively) to get a healthy mix of grains. Is it ok to continue with that?

I have read that processed form of soy like tofu or soy milk are better options as compared to just soy flour added to wheat flour but my family does not enjoy eating these form of soy much. Please help.

26 June, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Soy is one of those wonder foods that contains protein of high biological value, its also high in fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, calcium and magnesium. Consuming about 25 grams of soy per day in the form of soy milk, soy yogurt, miso, tofu, tempeh does deliver some health benefits.

Regards,
Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,
NutritionVista.com

26 June, 2010 | Richa | Reply

Richa I agree with Shakina, like every other food stuff, soy should also be taken in moderation as a part of healthy balanced diet. Excess of anything may be harmful. Also, processed soy has more health benefits as compared to unprocessed one.

26 June, 2010 | Geetanjali | Reply

Geetanjali Soy is a popular health food. Its common these days to add soybeans to the wheat flour that is used for making chapatti. But this method is not effective, since soybeans contain anti-nutritional factors like saponins, trypsin inhibitors that lower the benefits of soy. Consuming it in the processed form as soy milk, tofu lowers the anti-nutritional components and improves the bioavailbility of soy proteins.

Geetanjali Kelkar
Dietitian
Nutriiton Vista

25 June, 2010 | Shakina | Reply

Shakina I personally think that by taking a small amount of soy that is processed well, including fermentation like what is seen in Oriental diets, will positively benefit without any causing ill effects as seen in the West, where Soy is eaten in many forms and in excess. Moderation is th ekeyto everything.

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Diet & Nutrition, Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Foods, Iron, Lung Cancer, Nutrition, Oral Cancer, Women's Health

 

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