Cancer researchers have found a soup that can cut a woman's risk of breast cancer in half (and could have the same impact on prostate cancer for men). If true, this is huge news, especially for women who have a family history of breast cancer. But this study found something unique - the soup was most beneficial for postmenopausal women.

In this study, the researchers followed 21,852 Japanese women. They found that the women who drank three or more bowls of miso soup every day have approximately one-half the risk of breast cancer compared with women who consumed less than one bowl. And postmenopausal women had the greatest benefit.

Miso is fermented soy paste made into soup. It's very popular in Japan. Interestingly, the authors found the cancer risk didn't correlate to the consumption of cooked or non-cooked tofu or fermented whole soybeans.

There's a lot of controversy surrounding soy. I try to bring you the good and the bad news. This is definitely good news.

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Researchers suspect the genistein in the miso is what gives it the anti-cancer attributes. Genistein is a major isoflavone in soy. These isoflavones are weak plant estrogens. So I expect miso will help prevent prostate cancer as well, which is most likely an estrogen-related cancer. This is one reason why I'm a big fan of miso. I've never seen the negative press for miso that soy often receives.

I once read an interesting story about miso. A hospital stood underneath ground zero of the Hiroshima bombing. The blast went out, not down, and spared the building. The hospital's doctor walked out and saw the city destroyed. He didn't know what happened, but went back in and told everyone to eat miso. Those who did reportedly had much less radiation sickness. I attribute that to the large amounts of antioxidants found in miso.

Oriental markets and health food stores sell this paste, which is easily made into soup. Bring water to a boil, let it cool substantially, and add the paste. Mix to taste. Boiling the miso itself will kill the beneficial fermentation bacteria. Please consider drinking miso soup! You can also buy miso supplements at most health food stores. But, as always, I consider the whole food superior to isolated supplements.

Ref: "Isoflavone Consumption Associated With Reduced Risk Of Breast Cancer," Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 18, 2003.

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