Herb of the Day: Soy

Glycine Max

Parts used: Seed (bean)
Aids with high cholesterol,menopause,protection against certain cancers,osteoporosis prevention

At least 5000 years the Chinese have called soybeans ta-tou, meaning greater bean. Numerous population studies confirm that Asians, who have long known the health secrets of soybeans,have much lower rates of heart disease,menopause-related hot flashes,osteoporosis, and a range of cancers. It is highest in isoflavones ( also called phytoestrogens) such as genistein and daidzein,compounds with well researched health benefits. Soybeans also pack in 30% protein, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels when eaten in place of animal protein. A case control study conducted in Australia suggested that the risk of breast cancer ic substantially less among women who have a high intake of isoflavones. Although evidence for soy’s anticancer effects is limited to epidemiologial (population) and laboratory studies, the research is promising. In Asian countries the risk of delveloping cancer is much lower than in Western nations. In vitro (test tube) studies indicate that soy foods work through several mechanisms to protect against cancer. One of soy’s major constituents, has strong antioxidant properties. This could give soy the ability to fight cancer by neutralizing free radicals, unstable molecules that damage DNA, the body’s genetic material. There is evidence that genistein directly interferes whit a tumor’s ability to grow by blocking the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) thereby interfering whit the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tumor.


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