What’s the Soy story?
Well, there are lots of stories about soy. But we need to look at the facts. It is so sad to see a number of people afraid of soy (or fruit, or carbs or any other healthy plant based food), when many studies have PROVEN that soy is one of the best ways women can significantly reduce their risk of getting breast cancer.
Here are some facts for you:
~ Okinawans have repeatedly been shown to be healthiest and longest-lived people in the world. This was demonstrated conclusively in the renowned Okinawa Centenarian Study, a 25-year study sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Health.
The researchers concluded that high soy consumption is one of the main reasons that Okinawans are at extremely low risk for hormone-dependent cancers, including cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries and colon. Compared to North Americans, they have a staggering 80 percent less breast cancer and prostate cancer, and less than half the ovarian cancer and colon cancer.
~ Other studies have confirmed the link between soy consumption and reduced cancer risk. The Japan Public Health Center Study found the lowest breast cancer rates in those prefectures where women ate the most soy products. A recent study published in the British medical journal Lancet showed that women who ate the most flavonoids (mostly isoflavones from soy products) had a substantially lower risk of breast cancer than those who had lower flavonoid intake.
~ The Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which found a 70% reduction in prostate cancer for men who consume soymilk daily.
Here are 5 Facts to help you:
1. Moderate soy consumption is health promoting for most people, and may prevent certain hormone dependent cancers such as breast, prostate, and colon. If you already HAVE breast cancer, then you want to check with your healthcare professional to see if soy is helpful or harmful to you in your individual situation.
2. 90% of all soy today in the US is GMO. Eat only organic (preferably sprouted) non-GMO soy, or fermented soy like Miso paste or Natto (which incidentally is the BEST source of K2). Interestingly in my own practice, the people who say that they have “not done well” with soy, were eating lots of processed soy products including boxed soy milks and granola bars filled with “soy protein isolate” that were NOT 100% organic non-GMO.
3. The 25 year long Okinawan studied made a direct link in the research between isoflavone consumption (from soy) and the LOWEST cancer rates in the world.
4. Another huge study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women with a high intake of soy reduced their risk of breast cancer by 54 percent compared to women with a low intake of soy. 54%!!!!! That is not small.
5. Over-consumption of soy CAN cause thyroid swelling IF you are iodine deficient. The answer is not to avoid soy, but to add iodine. (I say the same thing about kale, cauliflower and cabbage). Eat some kelp!
One thing to keep in mind is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite health writers: “If you made it your policy to eat NO food that contained substances which can, in large enough concentrations, cause damage, there would be literally nothing left for you to eat.” John Robbins.
Let’s just keep it smart, informed, backed by research, balanced, and not go off the deep end. Our goal is vibrant health and thriving longevity! Always listen to YOUR body, YOUR intuition, and YOUR personal healthcare professional whom you have put your trust in!
Hwang YW, Kim SY, Jee SH, et al: Soy food consumption and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Cancer 2009;61:598-606.
Yang WS, Va P, Wong MY, et al: Soy intake is associated with lower lung cancer risk: results from a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:1575-1583.
Kim J, Kang M, Lee JS, et al: Fermented and non-fermented soy food consumption and gastric cancer in Japanese and Korean populations: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Cancer Sci 2011;102:231-244.
Yan L, Spitznagel EL, Bosland MC: Soy consumption and colorectal cancer risk in humans: a meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2010;19:148-158.