Eating lots of soy-based food may protect older women against breast cancer, based on the findings of a study of 144 healthy post-menopausal Chinese Singaporeans.
The study, cited on the health web portal, WebMD, was conducted by Ms Anna H Wu and her colleagues from the University of Southern California.
Soybeans are rich in isoflavones, which are believed to provide a host of health benefits including lowering estrogen production.
High estrogen levels are linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.
The Asian Food Information Centre’s website says that researchers have known for many years that people in Asia who regularly consume soy foods have a lower occurrence of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.
The fat in soybeans is mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, both of which are known to be beneficial to health.
Soybeans are also a good source of iron, fibre and high-quality protein.
Ms Patsy Soh, a dietician with the Changi General Hospital, said that consuming soy protein in place of animal protein helps to reduce intake of saturated fat for people with high blood cholesterol levels.
The Health Promotion Board’s website recommends eating at least 25 grams of soy protein every day to help lower cholesterol levels.
Choose whole soy foods such as tofu, tempeh or soy milk, or look for foods that have added soy protein.
Tofu is one of the most versatile of soy-based foods. It is very high in protein and absorbs the flavours of the foods it is cooked with.
According to Ms Soh, eating tofu is good because it prevents one from eating too much meat, which tends to be higher in fat content.
“Tofu also makes the dish tastier and contains only half the calories that are present in meat,” she said.