Women’s breast cancer risk may be reduced with regular soy intake. A study of Asian American women reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention suggested that eating soy throughout life was associated with lower risk of the disease. However, the most visible protection was provided with childhood soy intake. Women who had consumed soy at least once a week in childhood were around 60 percent less likely to develop the disease compared to women with lower soy intakes. In adulthood, the risk was reduced by 25 percent.
Isoflavones, estrogen-like soy compounds, are suspected to afford some breast cancer protection by helping to destroy abnormal cells and reduce the body’s inflammation. Early exposure to soy’s isoflavones may be crucial in protection against breast cancer. Research on animals demonstrated soy’s contribution to boost earlier maturation of breast tissue and increased tissue immunity to cancer-promoting substances. The link between high soy consumption and lower breast cancer risk remains ambiguous as the study is still at an early stage and insufficient for a public health recommendation.
– by Athalia Nakula