If you’ve decided to cut back on your consumption of red meat and are looking for a protein substitute, here’s one that could help you fight cancer: soy. Soy is an inexpensive, high-quality plant protein. It is vitamin- and mineral-rich. It contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. And it has a whole host of disease-fighting phytonutrients. Soy is the highest source of health-promoting phytoestrogens.
Asian diets, typically high in soy, have resulted in lower rates of cancer, as well as less heart disease and osteoporosis. You won’t have any trouble finding ways to incorporate soy into your diet. It seems everywhere you turn in the grocery store, there is another product made with soy.
In particular, studies have shown that soy helps to fight colon cancer. Most people don’t think about their colons much and most never bother to get their colons examined. But your colon is susceptible to cancer just like other parts of your body, and you’ll want someone to check up on it from time to time. Doctors use a variety of tests to look for growths inside the colon that shouldn’t be there. Screening typically begins at age 50, but may begin earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer.
To avoid the complications of this serious disease, add a little soy to your diet each week. In a recent clinical trial, Chinese researchers found that soy actually changed the structure of colon cancer cells, helping to break them down and preventing them from growing and spreading.
A few tips for eating soy: add tofu or other soy products last to a meal that you are making. Cooking soy at high heat for extended periods of time may reduce or eliminate many of the nutritional benefits. If you’re in a hurry and you decide to have a ready-made soy product like a burger for a meal, try to buy those products that contain soy protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or textured vegetable protein. Stay away from soy protein concentrates, which have had most of the beneficial nutrients extracted. Drink full-fat soy milk as it contains 50% more phytoestrogens than the low-fat kind.
One final note: along with soy, up your daily fiber intake. Studies have shown that a diet high in fiber reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. By adding more fiber to your diet, you are staving off other diseases such as diabetes and gallstones, too. Fiber retains water, resulting in softer and bulkier stools that prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. Medical experts think a high-fiber diet could keep colon cancer at bay by speeding the rate at which stool passes through the intestine, keeping the digestive tract clean. In addition, fiber binds with certain harmful substances in the body and helps with their quick removal.