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Soy Potentially Healthy for Cancer Survivors


Tue, Jan 12th, 2010
Posted in Health & Wellness

ST. LOUIS (January 12, 2010) - As research continues to demonstrate the human health value of eating soyfoods, a recently published study shows that soyfoods are not only safe but also beneficial for breast cancer survivors. In the past, some doctors have cautioned some breast cancer patients and survivors to avoid eating soy, because of the mild estrogen-like effects exhibited by isoflavones, a natural plant compound in soy, in certain lab conditions. But with this study, recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association, health professionals can feel comfortable recommending soyfoods to breast cancer patients.

The soybean checkoff and the United Soybean Board (USB) fund research on the healthfulness of soyfoods. Checkoff-funded research has helped to prove benefits such as soy's ability to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

"It is important the soybean checkoff work with universities and other science-based entities to make sure that accurate research is being done that will put factual information out to the public and medical professionals," says Laura Foell, soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa, and Vice Chair of the USB Domestic Marketing program. "Soybean farmers know that their product is a very worthwhile and healthy product. With research into soybeans' nutritional value, the soybean can be considered as part of a healthy diet."

This particular study tracked more than 5,000 Chinese women, ages 20 to 75, beginning six months after their breast cancer diagnosis. The study's investigators followed the women's health for four years and found that the group that consumed higher amounts of soy protein, two servings a day, had a lower mortality rate and a lower recurrence rate than those who consumed less soy. All told, the women who consumed the higher amounts of soy had a 30 percent decrease in risk.

"Having known several people with breast cancer, I feel this will give them the option of incorporating soy as part of a healthy diet without the fears or worries about the product," adds Foell.

To learn more about soyfoods, such as edamame, soymilk and textured soy protein, and how to include more soy in your diet, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.

USB is made up of 68 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

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