August 25, 2010

How to reduce your breast cancer risk by 60%

What if I told you there's a very simple way to reduce your breast cancer risk by 60%? Would you be interested? What if I also told you that this incredible protection comes from a food that supposedly "causes" breast cancer? Now you're probably wondering how this could be possible. Well, it is. Let me explain.

As you may know, many oncologists will tell their breast cancer patients to avoid soy. Soy contains isoflavones, which are weak estrogens. And since research has linked the powerful xenoestrogens in man-made chemicals to breast cancer, doctors theorize the isoflavones in soy are too risky.

While the logic of this argument sounds good, it hasn't proved out in reality. In fact, a new study says soy actually reduces your risk for breast cancer.

The NIH study found that the amount of soy you ate as a child influences your risk of breast cancer later in life. This study involved 597 cases of breast cancer and 966 controls (Asian American) aged 20-55 years. Those in the highest third of soy intake in childhood and adolescence had a 60% reduction in breast cancer as an adult. Those in the middle third had less protection. And those in the lowest third had the least protection.

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Imagine reducing your breast cancer risk up to 60% simply by eating a food! Soy gets a bad rap. Yes, it does have problems. Many people are allergic to it. Monsanto has a corner on the market with its genetically engineered Frankensoy. And soy might be problematic for the thyroid of some people. But overall, aside from these issues, and if you are into legumes, I just don't see the problem with it that others do.

In fact, soy just might help the problem. Soy has loads of isoflavones. These act as weak estrogens. As a weak estrogen, the isoflavones can bind to the hormone receptors and keep the more powerful chemical xenoestrogens away. The net effect is less estrogen-like stimulation.

While this study looked at the long-term effects of eating soy from childhood, other studies have shown similar results on those who started eating soy later in life. The protection against the xenoestrogens is still powerful no matter when you start eating soy.

I am not opposed to you eating soy products. Soy sprouts are terrific. Moderate amounts of tofu are acceptable in my book. But the most superior soy products are the fermented products like miso and tempeh. Just be sure that any soy you eat is organic.

Ref: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, 2009 Mar 24; Lymphatic research and Biology 2010, 8:89.

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