Soy and Breast Cancer

Th isoflavones in soybeans have been associated with fighting breast cancer, according to publications including PubMed. However, the The American Institute for Cancer emphasizes that more research is needed in order to conclude that this true before any recommendations are given.

What we do know about soy products is that the chemicals in soy act like hormonal estrogen and have the possibility of protecting women of developing breast cancer. This is especially true for pre-menopausal women because their estrogen levels are higher at this stage of their life.

For women who are post-menopausal and who produce lower levels of estrogen, studies show that concentrated soy supplements may add estrogen to the body, increasing the risk for breast cancer. This is why modified soybean supplements, pills, and powders, although are receiving lots of accolades in the media, should be used with caution. Source


“Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because, unlike some other beans, soy offers a ‘complete’ protein profile. … Soy   protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat—without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet”

  • Soy protein, when compared with animal protein, is lower in saturated fat. This attribution can lower bad cholesterol in the body. Soy beans also provide Omega-3 fats, which have links to being beneficial to your heart.
  • The FDA recommends 25 grams of soy protein a day
  • Soybeans, sesame seeds and legumes are 1/100th as strong as natural female estrogen so unless you go on an all-soy diet, it will be hard to eat too much. If you are taking soy isoflavones pills consult with your doctor on the levels that you should be taking. Also stay away from soy if you are taking estrogen receptor modulators or if you have a thyroid disorder Source


  • Look for soy products that do not use genetically-modified soy crops
  • Make sure you read your labels to see if the right amounts of soy has been added
  • Eat plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables with your soy

Although the best protection of soy against breast cancer depends on if you have eaten soy regularly throughout your life, it’s not too late to add 25 grams to your diet today. Source


  • Soymilk- can be used in shakes or as substitutes for sauces and soups
  • Tofu- can fry, marinate, and can mix in protein shakes, or stir fry
  • Edamame- used in salads and soups *make sure you cook it, raw edamame contains trypsin, which is toxic to humans
  • Miso- Comes in paste form. Can be used in soups and stir-frys

Try this recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research


2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
3 peeled red (Spanish) onions, halved and thinly-sliced
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp. dried thyme
3 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
5 cups water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 1-inch  thick slices whole-wheat Italian bread
1/4 cup red or brown rice miso
1/3 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat half the oil in large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, stirring to coat them with oil. Cover tightly, reduce heat to medium low and cook until onions are wilted, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and stir in. Increase heat and sauté until onions are well browned, about 12 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the pot from heat and scrape it to loosen all the browned bits on the bottom. Stir in mustard, thyme, broth and water. Return to high heat and cook until liquid comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat, partially cover the pot and simmer until the onions are very soft, 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush bread on both sides with remaining oil. Grill or toast bread in 400 degree oven. Set aside to cool. Cut into rough cubes with a sharp, serrated knife.

Place the miso in a small bowl. Gradually stir in about 1/4 cup of the soup, mixing until well blended. Stir the mixture into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into deep bowls. Sprinkle top with toasted bread cubes. Sprinkle 1 scant tablespoon cheese on top (optional).

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 102 calories, 4 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 13 g. carbohydrate, 5 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 608 mg. sodium.


Stay tuned for more information on Breast Cancer for the month of October


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