Can Soy Protect Against Cancer?

For a while there were concerns about soy being linked as a cause of breast cancer. Those rumors have been put to rest and found to be invalid. Now, however, research is showing that soy is not only safe, but it may help protect against particular types of cancer.

The Soy Debates

One of the great things about soy is that it’s one of the very few plant-based foods that provides protein. It also contains a wealth of amino acids that contribute to supporting a body’s vital functions. The confusion with soy’s safety emerged because it is also found to contain phytoestrogens.

Isoflavones (a group of phytoestrogens) are similar to estrogen—but not the same. Breast cancer has been linked to high estrogen levels. The significant truth is that plant-based estrogen is not the same as human. Soy isn’t a hormonal food.

Estrogens, the types that encourage cell growth, are only found in animals.

New Research on Protection

In the March 2017 edition of the journal Cancer, the results of a 10-year study on soy and breast cancer survivors were reported. The study involved over 6,200 participants. The women who ate the most soy products over the course of the research had a 21% lower risk of death—from all causes.

Other current, relevant studies have also shown that soy is safe for breast cancer survivors. It’s also been revealed that soy can actually protect breast health and heart health in females who ate it during puberty. That very same phytoestrogen ingredient actually blocks the negative action of animal or human estrogen.

In some Asian countries, low rates of breast and prostate cancer may be due to a diet that welcomes phytoestrogens and soy.

What Soy Can Positively Do

As mentioned, this plant-based food provides protein, amino acids, and a wealth of other nutrients. Some are: potassium, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin K. Most importantly, it is full of fiber. This is extremely important for healthy and proper digestion.

Nutritionists recommend moderate amounts, which would be approximately three servings daily. This may include a bowl of miso soup, some edamame, and a glass of soy milk. Tofu is also a common soy-based food.

Soy also contains:

  • Saponins, which are compounds that may lower cholesterol and protect against cancer
  • Phytic acid, which acts as an antioxidant
  • Sphingolipids, which help regulate cell growth and deter abnormal cells from replicating

Overall Healthy Diet

One the largest problems in the U.S. is the amount of processed and genetically modified foods (GMOs) we consume. A diet that includes these types of foods is not a real healthy one. Whole foods and organic are recommended for clean eating. This pertains to soy as well.

In this country, 92% of the soybeans grown here are genetically modified. That’s a staggering figure. So, again, try and check out whole and organic sources. Additionally, beware of the ingredient “isolated soy protein”, which basically means only the protein is extracted from the food and all the other nutrients are tossed aside. Isolated soy protein is listed on many snack, workout, or energy bars and shakes.

For more current health and wellness news, check out GetThrive!

Sources:

https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/september-2014/soy-cancer.html

http://www.aicr.org/foods-that-fight-cancer/soy.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

https://www.fredhutch.org/en/treatment/survivorship/survival-strategies/soy-safe-for-cancer-survivors.html

https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/22342/cancer-information/cancer-risk-and-prevention/healthy-weight-diet-and-exercise/soy-foods/#y0KI0czhGGVze0rs.99

 

Say “Yes” to Beet Juice!

Every week there’s a new trendy Superfood advertised in markets or on social media. Beets, however, specifically red beetroots, have been a prominent health veggie for generations. It’s more recent that the many powerful benefits of drinking the juice have come to light.

Beet-ween You and I

Beets are an incredibly nutrient-dense vegetable. My Polish grandmother boiled them in with many of her cultural dishes. Our Russian neighbor made the most delicious Borsht soup. It was a tad sour, but she added a bit of bacon into the bowl, and that made it more appealing and flavorful. Beets can also be roasted, which tends to bring out more of their sweetness.

But if you want the vitamins and nutritional benefits from the red beetroot without the cooking hassle, perhaps the best form is juicing. In fact, beet juice has shown to lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease, decrease inflammation, and even improve athletic performance when ingested as a liquid supplement.

Skipping a Beat

Nitrates are chemicals that naturally occur in certain foods—beets being one of them. In truth, the highest nitrate levels are found in spinach, celery, lettuce, and beets! Nitrates convert into nitric oxide when they’re consumed.

Nitric oxide increases oxygen levels in our blood. It also helps open our blood vessels, which allows for improved blood flow. When our blood is oxygen-rich and flowing freely, our circulatory and respiratory systems can function at their peak. Think about what this could mean to an athlete. Or, imagine how this could positively affect your workouts?

If more oxygen is being fed to your muscles, your endurance can be increased. Skipping rope for two minutes won’t be as taxing if you drink some beet juice a couple of hours before.

Research from studies showing the effects of beet juice as a nutritional athletic supplement offer these suggestions:

  • 2 cups of red beetroot juice is a healthy dose
  • Drink your supplement approximately 120 minutes before engaging in your workout

Beet the Odds

Today’s environment requires that people take special note to eat nutritionally, exercise, but also to detoxify. Pollutions in all forms enter our bodies, regardless of how “clean” we live. Beets are natural detoxifiers.

Beets are high in vitamin C and K, folate, potassium, manganese, and fiber. They also contain betaine (a nutrient that helps protect cells), pectin, and assist the liver with its cleansing process. They are a rich source of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and risk of disease. As mentioned, the nitrate level in beet juice helps decrease hypertension—that makes it a heart-healthy beverage.

No matter how you slice it, beets are the bomb! Before your next stroll or workout, think about toasting with a glass of beet juice.

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-roast-beets-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-172827

https://www.verywell.com/how-does-beet-juice-improve-athletic-performance-4123855