Eating More Soy Means Less Colon Cancer

People who eat a lot of soy, especially postmenopausal women, have a much lower risk of colon and rectal cancers than those who eat less. Those are the new findings from researchers with the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, a large population study in China that studied more than 68,000 women aged 40 to 70.

Researchers tracked the women’s soy intake and their incidence of colorectal cancers for more than six years. The results? The women who ate the most soy products were 30% less likely to develop either kind of cancer compared to women who ate the least. For each additional five grams of soy (about one ounce of tofu) eaten per day, risk dropped by about 8%.

The soy-cancer link was independent of traditional risk factors and was not related to intake of other foods, such as red meat, fruits or vegetables. The researchers suggest that eating more soy may help prevent these two common cancers.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2009 (e-pub December 10, 2008).

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