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Eating Soy Bean to Fight Cancer

For many of us the only time soy got into our diet was when we used salad dressing made from soybean oil. More and more people are eating soybeans as they learn about the many benefits of this legume.


Soybeans are rich in plant phytoestrogen hormones called isoflavones. These isoflavones are similar in structure to the estrogens in the human body and so adding soybeans to the diet may be a way of increasing estrogen levels. That at least is the reasoning behind the interest in soybeans by women approaching menopause.

The observation that the Japanese and Chinese have low incidences of breast, colon and prostate cancer has led researchers to investigate other components of soybean that may be beneficial to health. In an article published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute laboratory work has pointed at a compound called genistein as a possible anti-cancer agent in soybean.

Genistein appears to affect the metabolism of cancer cells by weakening their defences against anti-cancer drugs and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Cancer cells have developed enzyme systems to produce protective proteins that allow the cancer to resist treatment. Genistein appears to be able to interfere at the production of these protective proteins, thereby reducing the ability of cancer cells to survive and grow.

So there may be more than one reason why you would want to increase the amount of soybean in your diet. It is the protein part that contains the genistein; adding more soybean oil to your salad won't help.

Soy Facts
Botanical Name:glycine max
Soy Products:oil, meal, soy sauce, soy milk, soy curd
Protein:approx. 44% of soybean is protein, soybean has more protein than chick peas, lentils or broad beans
Yield:a good crop yield for soy bean is 60 bushels / acre
U.S. Crop:996 63,409,000 acres harvested producing an average of 37.6 bushels/acre

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