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The Health Dangers of Soy

Who hasn’t heard of the marvels of soy? The marketing bandwagon has touted soy as the perfect health food for decades. But could something that sounds so healthful actually be dangerous?

If you take the time to look into the actual science, then the answer is yes. Thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility — even cancer and heart disease.

One of the primary reasons it would be wise for you to avoid soy is that more than 90 percent of soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified. Since the introduction of genetically engineered foods in 1996, we’ve had an upsurge in low birth weight babies, infertility, and other problems in the U.S., and animal studies have shown devastating effects from genetically engineered soy including allergies, sterility, birth defects, and offspring death rates up to five times higher than normal.

Soybean crops are also heavily sprayed with chemical herbicides, such glyphosate, which a French team of researchers have found to be carcinogenic.

Soybeans — even organically grown soybeans — naturally contain “antinutrients” such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, trypsin inhibitors, goitrogens and phytoestrogens. Traditional fermentation destroys these antinutrients, which allows your body to enjoy soy’s nutritional benefits. However, most Westerners do not consume fermented soy, but rather unfermented soy, mostly in the form of soymilk, tofu, TVP, and soy infant formula.

Unfermented soy has the following 10 adverse affects on your body:

1. High Phytic Acid (Phytates): Reduces assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking, but only with long fermentation. High-phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.

2. Trypsin inhibitors: Interferes with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals, trypsin inhibitors in soy caused stunted growth.

3. Goitrogens: Potent agents that block your synthesis of thyroid hormones and can cause hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked with autoimmune thyroid disease. Goitrogens interfere with iodine metabolism.

4. Phytoestrogens/Isoflavones: Plant compounds resembling human estrogen can block your normal estrogen and disrupt endocrine function, cause infertility, and increase your risk for breast cancer.

5. Hemagglutinin: A clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump, making them unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.

6. Synthetic Vitamin D: Soy foods increase your body’s vitamin D requirement, which is why companies add synthetic vitamin D2 to soymilk (a toxic form of vitamin D).

7. Vitamin B12: Soy contains a compound resembling vitamin B12 that cannot be used by your body, so soy foods can actually contribute to B12 deficiency, especially among vegans.

8. Protein Denaturing: Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein (TVP). Chemical processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.

9. MSG: Free glutamic acid, or MSG, is a potent neurotoxin. MSG is formed during soy food processing, plus additional MSG is often added to mask soy’s unpleasant taste.

10. Aluminum and Manganese: Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to your nervous system and kidneys, and manganese, which wreaks havoc on your baby’s immature metabolic system.

Soy’s antinutrients are quite potent. Drinking just two glasses of soymilk daily provides enough of these compounds to alter a woman’s menstrual cycle. But if you feed soy to your infant or child, these effects are magnified a thousand-fold. Infants fed soy formula may have up to 20,000 times more estrogen circulating through their bodies as those fed other formulas. You should NEVER feed your infant a soy-based formula!

In fact, infants fed soy formula take in an estimated five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day.

As dangerous as unfermented soy is, fermented soy from organic soybeans is a different story altogether and can be a beneficial part of your diet. Fermented soy is a great source of vitamin K2, and K2 (combined with vitamin D) is essential in preventing osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and various types of cancer.

Note that tofu is NOT on this list and is among the soy foods I do not recommend. Traditionally fermented soy products include:

  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Natto
  • Soy sauce (as long as it’s fermented in the traditional way, and not all are)

Contrary to what you may have heard, Asians do not consume large amounts of soy. They use small amounts as a condiment (about two teaspoons daily), but not as a primary protein source. And the type of soy they consume is traditionally fermented soy.

By Dr. Joseph Mercola           Oct 23, 2012
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10 Benefits and Uses For Miso

a Care2 favorite by Delia Quigley

I often introduce miso in my cooking classes or recommend its use for healing diets. As it is not a common American food staple, I often find that people are reluctant to pay for a tub of miso that will sit in the back of their refrigerator for most of eternity. Coming to embrace the benefits of serving miso soup on a daily basis can take time for some, unless it is a necessary part of a diet meant for healing purposes. Otherwise, what to do with the soybean paste with Japanese credentials?

Miso is a paste made from soybeans, sea salt, and koji (a mold starter), and often mixed with rice, barley or other grains. The mixture is allowed to ferment for 3 months to 3 years, which produces an enzyme-rich food. The binding agent zybicolin in miso is effective in detoxifying and eliminating elements that are taken into the body through industrial pollution, radioactivity and artificial chemicals in the soil and food system.

Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back approximately 2,500 years. Today, most of the Japanese population begins their day with a warm bowl of miso soup believed to stimulate the digestion and energize the body. When purchasing miso, avoid the pasteurized version and spend your money on the live enzyme-rich product, which is also loaded with beneficial microorganisms.

The 10 scientifically researched benefits of eating miso

1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.

3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.

5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).

6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.

7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.

10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.


Miso has a wonderful sweet/salty flavor that can be used in a wide variety of recipes. The color of miso can vary from light yellow, good to use in a sweet miso soup during warm weather, to a deep dark brown with earthy tones and hearty flavor, which can be cooked with cubed root vegetables, wakame sea vegetable and dark leafy greens during the colder months. When cooking with miso use just enough to enhance flavor and avoid overpowering the dish with a strong salty taste.

10 Ways to Use Miso in Recipes

1. Use light colored miso as a dairy substitute in place of milk, butter, and salt in creamed soups.

2. Puree with tofu and lemon juice in place of sour cream.

3. Blend light miso with vinegar, olive oil and herbs for salad dressing.

4. Use unpasteurized miso in marinades to help tenderize animal protein and breakdown vegetable fiber.

5. Use the dark rice or barley miso, thinned with cooking water as a sauce for water sauteed root vegetables or winter squash.

6. Use dark miso in a vegetable-bean casserole to supply plenty of high quality protein.

7. Make cheese for pizza and wraps with yellow miso and firm tofu.

8. Make a spread using white miso, peanut butter and apple juice to thin.

9. Make a pate with tofu, garlic, white miso, tahini, lemon juice and dulse flakes.

10. Add miso to dipping sauce for spring rolls, norimake rolls or raw vegetables.

Be careful not to get carried away and use miso in everything. Your body will respond to the excess salty taste with cravings for sweets, liquids and fruit. It is suggested that the amount of miso used should not exceed 2 teaspoons per person per day.

source: www.care2.com

 


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Fermented Soy Foods

by RoseMarie Pierce, BSc Pharm

For more than 2,000 years, the modest little soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr., Leguminosae) has provided us with nutrition and healing power. New research shows that we derive the greatest benefits from soybeans when they are prepared in traditional ways, especially when fermented.

Traditional soy foods are usually divided into two groups: fermented products such as miso, soy sauce, tempeh, and natto, and non-fermented products such as tofu and soymilks. In the name of health, North Americans are increasingly developing a taste for this Old World staple, in both the traditional and newer forms.

Fermenting the Soybean

In the soybean fermentation process, end results such as miso, tempeh, natto, and soy or tamari sauce are produced by a host of beneficial yeast, mould, and bacteria. Whole-food, fermented soy powders, milks, and yogurts are also cultured with multiple species of beneficial bacteria.The many benefits of soybean fermentation include the following:

Improved digestibility. Unfermented soybeans are difficult to digest, partly due to the high amount of protein enzyme inhibitors and hard-to-digest sugar structures. During the fermentation process, the enzymes produced by the beneficial bacteria and other microbes break down, or predigest, the specific complex carbohydrates (sugars) found in soy and most other legumes. This process also renders the proteins more digestible and easier to assimilate than those in the whole soybean. For those with a compromised digestive system or difficulty digesting protein, this is especially helpful.

Enhanced nutrition. Soy fermentation converts minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, and zinc into more soluble forms and can also increase vitamin levels in the final product. Some beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are able to concentrate large quantities of thiamin, nicotinic acid, and biotin, thus forming an enriched product.

Medicinal benefits. Substances in fermented soy foods have been found to alleviate the severity of hot flushes, to have a protective effect against the development of cancer, to cause a reduction in cholesterol, and to inhibit the progression of atherosclerosis. The probiotic bacteria produced during soy fermentation are known to enhance healthy intestinal flora and correct digestive tract imbalances.

Increased bioavailability of isoflavones. Isoflavones (phytoestrogens naturally occurring in soy) are converted by the bacteria into their “free” or aglycone forms for improved absorption and more effective usage within the body.

The Soybean “Conquers” America

In October 1999, the modest little soybean received a great deal of attention in North America when the US Food and Drug Administration authorized use of health claims about the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. As a result of this and some overstated health claims from other studies, the multinational soy industry has multiplied its efforts to find alternative uses and new markets for soybeans and soy protein foods. Billions of dollars have gone into researching, manufacturing, and advertising soy-based products, including a custom-designed soybean. Many top scientists around the world are expressing their concerns about genetically manipulated soy and other crops.


Today’s North American soy cuisine has developed into something very different from its Asian predecessor. On supermarket shelves today we can find soy in everything from breakfast cereals to burgers to frozen desserts. Yet very few of these are natural, whole-food products. The ancient soybean was, for centuries, the quintessential “candidate for fermentation” requiring time-sensitive, careful processing in the Eastern world. It has now become mass produced and over-processed in the West.

Some health experts, such as well-known author John Robbins, are questioning the validity of consuming these new, nonfermented soy products. Robbins states, “The best way to take advantage of soy’s health benefits is to follow the example of the traditional Asian diets and stick with whole [organic] foods…These are the soy foods that I prefer to eat—rather than the soy products made with protein isolates, soy protein concentrates, hydrolyzed soy protein, partially hydrogenated soy oil, etc. Whole soy foods are more natural and are the soy foods that have nourished entire civilizations for centuries.”

Getting the Most from Soy Products

Choose organic fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso, natto, tamari, shoyu, and fermented whole soybean powder, milk, and yogurt. Genetically manipulated soy ingredients should be avoided whenever possible. In the US and Canada, almost all soy that is not referred to on the label as organic has been genetically manipulated. It is best to avoid hydrolyzed soy (vegetable) protein. New research suggests that soy formulas may be unsafe for infants.

It is relatively easy to cook with tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari, shoyu, and natto. Fermented soy powder, milks, and yogurt can be made into nutritional shakes and smoothies or included in pancake mixes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods. Cookbooks and recipes can make using soy even easier. Traditionally prepared, fermented soy foods are a healthy protein source.

Guide to Popular Fermented Whole Soy Foods

  • Miso: A rich, salty, fermented paste (made from salted soybeans alone or mixed with grains such as wheat, barley, and rice) that is cultured and aged.
  • Shoyu (soy sauce): Originally a by-product drained off miso, this dark brown liquid is typically used in Asian dishes. Tamari soy sauce is a by-product of miso without added grains.
  • Tempeh: A popular Indonesian food made by combining soybean with either rice or millet and a mould culture for 24 hours. It’s a hearty, chewy, meat-like cake that can be grilled as a burger or added to a main dish.
  • Natto: A sticky, pasty-textured, slightly sweet-tasting soy ferment, eaten for breakfast or dinner as a topping on rice or added to vegetable dishes.
  • Fermented tofu: First a tough-textured tofu is made from cooked pur? soybeans processed into a custard-like cake; it is then fermented to make a white, creamy food resembling semi-soft cheese.
  • Fermented soymilk or yogurt: Made from soymilk that is fermented by probiotic bacteria, it can be used as a dessert or to make sour cream, cream cheese, or a form of ice cream.
  • Fermented soy powder: A whole-food, bacteria-fermented powder used in nutritional shakes, bars, or in baking, with all the nutritional value of traditional fermented soy.

About the Author
RoseMarie Pierce, BSc Pharm, is a holistic pharmacist with more than 30 years of experience in conventional and natural medicine. Reach this popular writer, lecturer, and hormonal health specialist at sunstreams.ca


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5 Foods to Make You Happy (Hint: Omega-3s)

By Sherry Guastini   June 13, 2012

Do you ever feel depressed or disconnected from your daily life, as if you’re just going through the motions? Are your relationships suffering because you feel numb and joyless? Do you forget appointments or events and then wonder why? Do you have a child who seems to cry easily, feel sad a lot or just seems withdrawn?

If so, you are not alone. Depression rates in the U.S. “have roughly tripled over two decades,” according to several studies and reported in CBS News TV show “Sunday Morning,” which aired on March 18. That translates to 27 million Americans taking pharmaceuticals such as Wellbutrin, Celexa, Pristiq, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Prozac. Studies show that these antidepressants work for only 30 to 45% of people and many of these drugs come with serious side effects such as suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors.

There are many valid reasons why people could become depressed, such as the financial impact of the economy, the death of a loved one, foreclosure and abuse to name a few. However, turning to these mood-altering drugs doesn’t appear to offer a healthy solution. In fact, most of those drugs target Serotonin (the feel-good hormone) uptake while new studies show that depression is linked more closely to too much Cortisol (the stress hormone) in our system.

In fact, studies show that there are many lifestyle adjustments that can be applied for free that help to lift our mood from “can’t get off the couch” to moving through our day with a smile of accomplishment. A few changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in your mental/emotional state. Try spending time in nature or with a pet, taking a long walk, moving your body in some form of exercise you enjoy, turning off depressing news reports, finding a spiritual path that speaks to you, mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, meditation, and engaging in supportive relationships.

By far, one of the most disturbing facts on depression rates is that pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants claims a study published in “Psychiatric Services,” April 2004. What?! The preschool years have always been among the most innocent and joyful times of life! At least four percent of preschoolers, over a million, are clinically depressed. The rate of increase in depression among children is an astounding 23% and is currently escalating, claims a Harvard University study reported in “Harvard Mental Health Newsletter”, February 2002.

Some might claim that doctors are simply getting better at diagnosing depression. I have a different opinion and it involves nutrition or the lack thereof.

Our brains, especially our growing brains, need good fats to be healthy. No, wait a second – don’t run to the freezer for ice cream quite yet! While ice cream is fatty and does taste great it will only make you feel good for a little while…. What I’m talking about are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s).

Of all of our body parts, it’s the brain that’s most in need of high-quality fats. In fact, the brain is made up of 60% fat, mostly an Omega-3 fat called DHA. Its job is to support cellular communication and when present in the right ratio, it produces happiness while increasing learning and memory skills. If our brains are deficient in Omega-3’s we can experience depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder. Not surprisingly, Americans are deficient in Omega-3’s. Some reports indicating 95% of us lack enough Omega-3’s to support our brains!


One reason for this is our reliance on processed, nutrient-deficient foods. Ask any kid what his favorite foods are and you’ll probably get a long list of junk foods like Cheezits and Ring Dings! Not only are processed foods lacking in Omega-3’s, but are also high in Omega-6’s that unbalances the ratio of EFA’s and is the leading cause of inflammatory issues.

Once again looking to the past to solve a present day crisis provides a solution. In ages past, we had an understanding that food was medicine. When we return to the way our ancestors ate and include many natural whole foods into our diet, the dense nutrition begins to balance our brains and the rest of us as well! The lowest rates of depression are found in societies with the highest consumption of EFA rich foods.

1. Fish.

One of the biggest sources of Omega-3’s is from fish, particularly salmon, sardines and halibut. Wild-caught fish are far healthier than farm-raised. Some people are vegan or don’t like the taste of fish and choose to supplement with fish or krill oils. Choosing a highly purified version of fish oil is wise, as many fish are contaminated with PCP’s and mercury, resulting in a very expensive toxic sludge.

2. Walnuts.

Walnuts are also a good source of Omega-3’s, but be sure to buy them raw for the biggest impact.

3. Soy. 

Soy is also high in Omega-3’s. However, soy is among the most genetically modified (GM) foods on the market. GM foods contain proteins not found in nature and for many they lead to digestive issues as these strange proteins are not easily broken down. The UK experienced a 50% rise in pediatric allergies the year that GM foods were introduced in their markets. Coincidence? I think not.

4. Flax.

Flax seeds are also a great source of Omega-3’s. To access all the nutrition they hold you must be sure to grind them up. Refrigerating Flax is a must because the oil quickly becomes rancid.

5. Chia.

Lastly, chia seeds, nature’s forgotten superfood, are so chock full of Omega-3’s they are sure to put a smile on your face! As a nutrition coach, I feel chia is the superior choice for Omega-3’s. They contain 30% EFA’s and the most antioxidants of any food researched, including blueberries. Not only does that mean the oil stays very stable without the seeds needing refrigeration, but it also imparts anti-aging support to your brain and the rest of your body as well. Because the seeds have an extremely thin outer shell (unlike flax) they needn’t be ground, they are completely bio-available. Another wonderful aspect of chia seeds is that bugs don’t like the plant. This means you needn’t worry about herbicides, pesticides, mercury, PCP’s, rancidity or genetic modification.

How’s that for a superfood? Eat some and get happy – superhappy!

source: mindbodygreen.com


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13 Superfoods for a Long and Happy Life

23rd April 2013   By Iryna Ostapets   Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Healthy eating is a good path to longevity. Many of us take supplements to add phytonutrients and minerals into the body. But the more nutritional needs you meet with your food consumption, the better the effects for your body. Consuming a variety of super-foods can provide the body with all the elements and nutrients that may be missing in your diet.
It was known from an ancient times that the best path to longevity is to comprise a good variety of foods crammed with vitamins and minerals. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have showed that healthy eating can decrease the risk of health diseases, cancer, diabetes and other infirmity. The Professor of Geriatrics at the University of Hawaii, Bradley Willcox also noted that the most beneficial diets rely heavily on fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes — foods that are naturally lower in calories and packed with nutrients.
The below super-foods have the potential to hamper the aging process, reinforce the immune system and maintain blood glucose levels. They prevent the build up of free radicals that are responsible for the development of age-related diseases.

Berries:

They are packed with antioxidants and natural compounds that assist to boost immunity. They contain anthocyanins which were confirmed by University of Georgia study to decrease the risk of colon cancer. Eating one or two servings of berries such blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or blackberries daily you can detain cognitive decline for older people.

 

Nuts:

These superfoods are versatile and a great source of healthy fats, protein vitamins and minerals. They can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and chronic diseases. Cashews, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. CBS news informs that a handful of any nuts can benefit your health, enlarge brain power, manage stress, hamper inflammation and keep fit for a long time.

 

Fish:

It has the highest level of Omega-3 fats that protect against heart diseases and strokes. Omega-3 combat inflammatory conditions, aging in cells and assist pull down blood pressure. Consuming two serving of fish can provide you with enough of Omega-3 fats. Tuna, salmon and other oily fish are in the list of the fish packed with abundant amount of these fatty acids.

 

Broccoli:

Researches have pointed out these veggies have extra life-extending benefits such as sulphoraphane, indole and phytochemicals. These health-protecting compounds can fight free radicals and keep its anti-cancer features. Broccoli is low in calories and a good alternative for healthy salads and sandwiches.

 

Tomatoes:

They contain generous content of lycopene that is associated with a proven cancer fighter. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and A, fiber, potassium and folate. The National Institutes of Health reports tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants that can decrease the risk of cancers.

Olive Oil:

Great source of monounsaturated “good fat” and vitamin E. It has excellent anti-inflammatory features and is clearly associated with cancer prevention and brain power. Two tablespoons of olive oil per day can benefit your health. It is better not to consume it a lot as it is darn caloric.

 

Beans:

They have the highest level of carbohydrates, resistant starch and fiber. Beans are excellent tool for cancer prevention, anti-diabetes and weight loss. They regulate blood sugar level, fight food cravings and decrease cholesterol level. Researchers found that the more fiber intake in your foods the less you are subject to breast cancer.

 

Seeds:

They are true fat sources that include a good variety of minerals, antioxidants, lignans, phytochemicals. Some seeds (flaxseed and sesame) have anti-cancer properties and versatile for health and brain health. Daily consumption of flaxseed can reduce the risk of breast cancer and the growth of their tumor cells.

 

Soy:

The consumption of fermented organic soy can promote weight loss and relieve menopausal symptoms. They are rich in isoflavone that lowers the risk of prostate and breast cancer. Moderate soy intake can have a good impact on bones and heart.

 

Bananas:

A well-balanced diet rich in fruits promotes longevity. Most of fruits have a plenty of healing properties and benefits, but we should place a much emphasis on bananas. They are important sources of potassium, vitamin C and B6, magnesium, fiber and other nutrients. They are naturally free from cholesterol and fat and balance your digestive processes.

 

Avocado:

They are full of vitamin E, fiber and monounsaturated fat. Eating avocados assists pump enough magnesium and bolster your immune system. It lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol and increases your “good” cholesterol level. New York University Langone Medical Center reports avocados contain 13 mg of calcium that can help you make bones strong.

 

Dark Chocolate:

It has the antioxidant, flavonol, found in cocoa beans that can reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Notice chocolate overeating can help you get extra calories. Dark chocolate ameliorates brain function as learning and memory ability.

 

Garlic:

It can be beneficial in boosting the immune system and includes a good amount of sulfur compounds that benefit heart health and lose weight. Garlic is crammed with antioxidants (vitamin C and selenium) that push out free radical from the body.
About the Author:
Iryna Ostapets is a health writer, blogger and health advocate who aims to help people achieve and maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. Passionate about healthy living and sport, she writes about natural health, nutrition, fitness, health tips and beauty at http://www.raipharmacies.com. An experienced Medical Writer, she has a Master’s Degree in English and advanced training in the medical field. Iryna continues to earn education certificates from the Australasian Medical Writers Association (AMWA).


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Tofu-Rich Diet May Help Women With Lung Cancer

Chinese study found eating high amounts before diagnosis boosted survival rates

WebMD News from HealthDay    By Mary Brophy Marcus    HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) – Eating tofu and other soy foods may help women who develop lung cancer increase their odds of living longer.

A study of women from Shanghai, China, published in the March 25 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, links high soy consumption before a lung cancer diagnosis with longer survival.

“This is the first study to suggest an association between soy food consumption and lung cancer survival,” said study author Dr. Gong Yang, a research associate professor of medicine in the division of epidemiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville.

Eating soy products in small amounts in the years preceding a lung cancer diagnosis didn’t seem to pose a benefit, though.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among women in the world. It forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually in the cells that line the air passageways. The five-year survival rate is poor compared to breast cancer; it is estimated that by 2012, lung cancer will cause twice as many deaths as breast cancer, Yang said.

Cigarette smoking is the top cause of the disease in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but in the study, most of the women from China were nonsmokers.

One expert noted another difference between the two populations of women that does not bode well for Chinese women.

“Far more never-smoking women in Asia get lung cancer than in the United States,” said Dr. Jyoti Patel, an associate professor of medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. “We’re not sure why this is, but they may have a predilection for developing mutations … that cause lung cancer to grow.”

The study participants were part of a larger observational study called the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, which tracked the incidence of cancer in about 75,000 women. Diet information was collected, including how much soy food – such as soy milk, tofu, fresh and dry soybeans, and soy sprouts – women ate.

The authors reported that about 450 women were diagnosed with lung cancer during the study. They were divided into three groups according to the amount of soy food they had eaten before their lung cancer diagnosis. The highest intake levels of tofu were equal to about 4 ounces a day, while the lowest soy consumers ate less than 2 ounces daily.


During the study, more than 300 of the lung cancer patients died, Yang said. Sixty percent of the women in the highest soy-eating group and 50 percent in the low soy consumer group were alive twelve months after diagnosis. A patient’s risk of death decreased with increasing soy intake, but leveled off at 4 ounces of daily tofu consumption.

“Patients with the highest soy food intake had better overall survival compared with those with the lowest intake,” said Yang, who described the association as “linear.”

What is in soybeans that might have cancer-slowing properties? It contains isoflavones that can act like selective estrogen modulators (SERMS), similar to the breast-cancer-fighting drug tamoxifen, Patel said.

“These SERMS may have a protective effect in lung cancer because we know that estrogen receptors are present in lung cancer and are important in lung development,” Patel said.

Elisabetta Politi, nutrition director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C., said the study is promising, but it raises a lot of questions too: Does the age at which soy is consumed play a role in how well it fights cancer later? Are certain soy foods better than others at fighting cancer? Would the results translate to a non-Chinese population?

“Maybe soy is important to eat before puberty,” Politi said, noting that some studies suggest breast cancer risk is linked to earlier puberty. She said most American women don’t eat soy before puberty, though. “It’s not a typical staple in the American diet.”

The new research also only collected information on soy intake before a lung cancer diagnosis, Politi said. People who already have lung cancer may wonder if adding tofu or soymilk to their daily diets could help.

Politi said she thinks it’s too early to recommend boosting soy intake specifically for lung cancer survival reasons but she encourages people to try adding it to their diets.

“It’s a good source of vegetable protein. I call it the miracle bean because it has about 30 percent of calories from protein, 30 percent from fat and 30 percent from carbohydrates. It’s also high in fiber and often fortified with calcium. It’s very nutritious,” Politi said. “I do think soy in moderation is part of a healthy plant-based diet and I would recommend it, but not in high consumption for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.”

The study authors also said it is premature to make any dietary recommendation on the basis of this single study, which did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between soy and increased survival.

“Further investigation is warranted to confirm or refute this finding,” Yang said. “We’d like to test this in other populations, too, like smokers or postmenopausal estrogen users, to answer the question of whether eating soy after diagnosis has a similar effect.”

The research was supported by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and conducted by investigators at Vanderbilt University in collaboration with the Shanghai Cancer Institute and U.S. National Cancer Institute.

Source: WebMD.com


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What is Tempeh?

Although not a common item in most households in the United States, tempeh, with its distinctively nutty taste and nougat-like texture, is increasing in popularity. It easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes. Tempeh can be found in health food stores and specialty markets throughout the year.

Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesia for over 2000 years. It is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans and its high protein content makes it a wonderful substitute for meat. It is typically made by cooking and dehulling soybeans, inoculating them with a culturing agent (like Rhizopus oligosporus), and then incubating the innoculated product overnight until it forms a solid cake. 

Tempeh is a wonderful, high protein, southeastern Asian treat. Not only does this collaged cake of fermented soybeans have a distinctive nutty taste but its nougatlike texture readily absorbs the different flavorings with which it is cooked. Tempeh is typically made by cooking and dehulling soybeans, inoculating them with a culturing agent (like Rhizopus oligosporus), and then incubating the innoculated product overnight until it forms a solid cake.
Tempeh originated in Indonesia where it has been a staple of the traditional cuisine for over 2000 years. Shortly after colonizing Indonesia, the Dutch introduced tempeh and other native foodstuffs into Europe. It was not until the 20th century that this Southeast Asian delight was introduced into the United States. Tempeh is now gaining increased popularity in this country as people look for ways to increase their intake of soybeans, and they discover tempeh’s versatility and delicious taste.

A food made from fermented soybeans, tempeh provides not only the protein found in soybeans but their many other health benefits as well. The soybean is the most widely grown and utilized legume in the world, with the U.S. being responsible for more than 50% of the world’s production of this important food. Soy is one the most widely researched, health-promoting foods around. Soy’s key benefits are related to its excellent protein content, its high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins and minerals, its isoflavones, and its fiber. While a complete review of all the benefits soy foods offer could easily fill a large book, recently there has been controversy as to the extent to which soybeans are a health-promoting food; we address this issue in our Q+A Are there special concerns related to soy foods?

A Health-Promoting Meat Replacer

Soybeans are regarded as equal in protein quality to animal foods. Just 4 ounces of tempeh provides 41% of the Daily Value (DV) for protein for less than 225 calories and only 3.9 grams of saturated fat. Plus, the soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol. 

In addition to healthy protein, some of tempeh’s nutritional high points include:
Riboflavin: 4 ounces of tempeh provides 24% of the DV for this B-vitamin. A nutrient essential for the transfer reactions that occur to produce energy in the mitochondria, riboflavin is also a cofactor in the regeneration of one of the liver’s most important detoxification enzymes, glutathione.

Magnesium: Tempeh also provides 22% of the DV for Nature’s blood vessel relaxant, magnesium, in just 4 ounces. In addition to its beneficial role in the cardiovascular system, magnesium plays an essential role in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, including those that control protein synthesis and energy production.

Manganese and Copper: That same 4 ounces of tempeh will give you 73% of the DV for manganese and 31% of the DV for copper. These two trace minerals serve numerous physiological functions including being cofactors for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.

Beneficial Effects on Cholesterol Levels

Soy protein has been found in recent years to be excellent for a number of different conditions, one of the most important ones being heart disease. Soy protein has been shown in some studies to be able to lower total cholesterol levels by 30% and to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, levels by as much as 35-40%. This is important because high levels of cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol, tend to become deposited into the walls of blood vessels, forming hard plaques. If these plaques grow too large or break, they can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Some studies have even shown that soy protein may be able to raise HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol travels through the body collecting the cholesterol that has been deposited in the arteries, so it can be taken away and removed by the liver. One of the main goals of atherosclerosis treatment and prevention, therefore, is to lower LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL levels. And soy is one food that may be able to do both at once.

In addition, soy foods like tempeh are rich in dietary fiber. When eaten, the fiber in tempeh binds to fats and cholesterol in food, so less is absorbed. In addition, tempeh’s fiber binds to bile salts and removes them from the body. Since the liver gets rid of cholesterol by transforming it into bile salts, their removal by fiber forces the liver to use more cholesterol to form more bile salts, leading to lower cholesterol levels overall.

 

Stabilize Blood Sugar at Healthy Levels

Another condition for which tempeh can be very beneficial is diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. The protein in tempeh is excellent for diabetic patients, who tend to have problems with animal sources of protein. The protein and fiber in tempeh can also prevent high blood sugar levels and help in keeping blood sugar levels under control. Some diabetics even find that the effects of soy foods, such as tempeh, and other legumes on blood sugar are so profound that they need to monitor their new blood sugar levels and adjust their medications accordingly. Of course, all of this should only be done under the supervision of a doctor. Diabetes patients are especially susceptible to atherosclerosis and heart disease, which is the number one killer of persons with diabetes. Keeping cholesterol levels low with soy foods may be useful for preventing these heart problems. In addition, soy foods have been shown to lower high triglyceride levels. Triglyceride levels tend to be high in diabetic patients, and high triglyceride levels are another factor of diabetics’ increased risk for heart disease.

Promotes Gastrointestinal Health

The fiber in tempeh also provides preventative therapy for several other conditions. Fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins and remove them from the body, so they can’t damage colon cells. Tempeh, which is made from high-fiber soybeans, may therefore be able to help reduce the risk of colon cancer. As a matter of fact, in areas of the world where soy foods are eaten regularly, rates of colon cancer, as well as some other cancers, including breast cancer, tend to be low.

A Healthy Transition through Menopause

One of the more popular uses of soy foods lately has been in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Soybeans contain active compounds called isoflavones that act like very weak estrogens in the body. These phytoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors and may provide enough stimulation to help eliminate some of the uncomfortable symptoms that occur when natural estrogen levels decline. Studies have shown that women who consume soy foods report a significant reduction in the amount of hot flashes that they experience. There is also some evidence that soy foods may even be able to help reduce the bone loss that typically occurs after menopause. And as women’s risk for heart disease significantly increases at menopause, soy foods’ numerous beneficial cardiovascular effects make tempeh a particularly excellent choice for frequent consumption as menopause approaches.

Promotes Men’s Health

In epidemiological studies, genistein, a naturally occuring isoflavone found chiefly in soy foods, has been consistently linked to lower incidence of prostate cancer. A recent study of human prostate cancer cells demonstrated some of the mechanisms behind genistein’s anti-prostate cancer effects. Genistein not only induced chemicals that block cell cycling, thus preventing the proliferation of cancerous cells in the prostate, but at high concentrations actually induced apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells.

Another study looked at the antioxidant effects of these isoflavones in soy, and found that genistein protected cells in healthy men from an increase in free radical production by inhibiting the activation of an important inflammatory agent called NF-kappaB and by decreasing levels of DNA adducts (a marker of DNA damage).

For many years it was only possible to find tempeh in natural foods and Asian stores. Yet, with the growing demand for soy foods, tempeh is now becoming more and more available in supermarkets throughout the country. Depending upon the store, tempeh may either be kept in the refrigerated or freezer section. In addition to plain soy tempeh, oftentimes varieties that include grains or vegetables are available.
Look for tempeh that is covered with a thin whitish bloom. While it may have a few black or grayish spots, it should have no evidence of pink, yellow or blue coloration as this indicates that it has become overly fermented.

Refrigerated tempeh can keep in the refrigerator for up to ten days. If you do not consume the whole package of tempeh at one time, wrap it well and place it back in the refrigerator. Tempeh will keep fresh for several months in the freezer.