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Soy is More Than Tofu (III).

By Terry Hobbs.


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One study of dietary intakes and breast cancer showed that in premenopausal women, consumption of high amounts of animal protein (meat and dairy) increased risk, while eating high amounts of soy was associated with a decreased risk. Another study of 8,000 men of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii showed that men who ate tofu daily were only one-third as likely to get prostate cancer as men who ate tofu only once a week or less. Tofu may not be so bad after all.

The reason isoflavones may prevent cancers that are sensitive to too much estrogen (like breast and prostate cancers) is that isoflavones act as antiestrogens in the body. Estrogen receptors are found on cells in almost every organ in the body (men have them too). Estrogen receptors are present in the cardiovascular system and bone, as well.

Research has discovered that estrogen plays an important role in health of all these tissues. Estrogen binds to these receptors. Some pollutants and pesticides act as strong estrogens in the body. Isoflavones, on the other hand, are weak estrogens.

They bind to these receptors preventing the foreign estrogens, or even the body’s own estrogen, from attaching and exerting a harmful effect. Theoretically, consuming soy would put isoflavones in the body that could then bind to the estrogen receptors, exerting a protective effect.




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