- Question from Bridge: I'm interested in information regarding whether or not soy and flaxseed are good for our diet. Also, what about organic meat—should we use only organic meat products?
Of course, and Penny and I were just talking about this, in the 10 years I've been here, soy has been a subject of controversy especially in the breast cancer population.
But for over 25 years, our message about soy has been the same—soy in moderation. We still feel it's an appropriate part of the diet. When we look at the components of soy, like isoflavones, which itself can have some estrogenic properties, it may be better for some populations to supplement with that than for others.
But with whole soy foods (our preference is for traditional soy foods, like miso and tempeh, edamame, tofu, or soymilk), we feel that soy may be very beneficial even for those with estrogen-driven cancers, some soy is probably OK. In the integrative therapies journal recently, a group of soy researchers and clinicians was polled and the conclusion was that consuming traditional soy foods, especially fermented soy foods, didn't really have a downside.
There is recent research showing that miso soup (miso is a fermented soybean puree) was shown to inhibit breast and prostate cancer. The growth of cancer cells was substantially reduced in this soybean extract.
So there are different qualities of soy as well, and we may absorb the fermented soy more effectively. Also, we know about different kinds of estrogen—estrogen alpha and estrogen beta, and soy products often hit the beta receptor and are more beneficial. We come right back to: Soy can be good in moderate amounts. In this country, we discovered soy was beneficial, so people went tofu-crazy, and ate it all day. So you can eat it, but remember, it's part of the total plan and not the answer on its own.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Buying Healthy Food and Drink featured Penny B. Block, M.A., David W. Grotto, R.D., L.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about finding, buying, and preparing the healthiest food and drink for people with breast cancer and their families.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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