In some cases, soy products help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. It does depend on how many soy products you eat and drink. The advice is to eat 2-3 times soy products daily. Worldwide research shows that women who are used to eating soy products from childhood have a smaller chance of getting breast cancer. Western women are not used to using soy for a long time. It appears that Western women do not have a reduced risk of breast cancer because of this.
Soy contains isoflavones. Isoflavones are a group of substances that are very similar to estrogen, they are also called phytoestrogens (vegetable estrogens). The most common isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein. Phytoestrogens appear to counteract the effect of estrogen in the body. This is because they take the place of estrogen, they push out the estrogen, as it were.
Estrogen is a female hormone that can influence the risk of breast cancer: a longer exposure to estrogen increases the chance of getting breast cancer. This means that women who started to menstruate early and arrive late in the transition have a greater chance of getting breast cancer than women who started menstruating late and come early in the transition.
Asian women get breast cancer less often
Little breast cancer occurs in Asia. That draws attention to soy because a lot of soy is used in Asia. In animal studies in the 1990s, it was found that the risk of breast cancer decreased with soy protein. Asian women who use soy products in larger amounts from a young age and all their lives than Western women seem to have a protective effect of soy on breast cancer.However, it is difficult to say whether this effect is purely due to the soy. Our Western diet and lifestyle differs on many more points from Asian cuisine and lifestyle.
Three servings of soy per day
To have a possible beneficial effect and still not get too much, it is recommended to use soy products a maximum of 2-3 times a day. This amount of soy is used in Asia, the advice is based on effect in Asian women. For example, you can replace your red meat a few times a week with a soy product such as bean curd, tempeh or tofu.
Soy supplements may not be safe against breast cancer
Not enough is known about the effect of very large amounts of isoflavones on the development of breast cancer. Large amounts of isoflavones are present in soy supplements or genistein / daidzein preparations. The advice is not to use soy supplements or genistein / daidzein preparations.