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  • Writer's pictureMiMi McGee

Eating to Beat Cancer

A Cancer-Fighting Chinese New Year Food

(Excerpt from forthcoming book by William W. Li, MD EAT TO BEAT DISEASE 2019) Dr. Li is Chief Executive Officer, President, Medical Director, and co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1994 to re-conceptualize global health and fighting disease through angiogenesis, the process used by the body to grow and maintain blood vessels.

If you're looking for a cancer-fighting addition to your Chinese New Year dinner - try adding something made with tofu. Here are some ideas from Dr. Li's new book.

Today is the first day in the Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the Pig (my sign!)

Let’s start off the first day of the (Lunar Calendar) New Year by busting a myth. Soy, the main ingredient of tofu, is often misunderstood, and women are told to avoid soy because of a link to breast cancer. 

This simply is not true. In fact, the body of medical research shows that soy is protective against cancer and has cancer-starving effects.

Today's excerpt from Dr. Li's new book EAT TO BEAT DISEASE tells the truth about soy, phytoestrogens, and breast cancer.

"There is a widespread misconception that women should avoid eating soy because of a belief that the natural plant phytoestrogens cause breast cancer. It’s time to overturn this urban legend. Here’s the scientific truth: phytoestrogens in soy do not increase the incidence of breast cancer in human studies. Quite the opposite. Soy phytoestrogens actually act as antiestrogens in humans, interfering with the ability of estrogen to fuel certain cancers. And as you now know, genistein, which is a phytoestrogen, has antiangiogenic, cancer-starving effects. Among the most convincing epidemiological studies on the benefit, not harm, of soy is the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, which studied 5,042 breast cancer survivors. During a four-year period, the researchers from Vanderbilt University documented and correlated the amount of soy these women consumed with recurrence of and death from breast cancer. If there were any potential for soy to be truly harmful, it would appear in this population of women. Instead, what was found was that women with the highest level of soy intake had a reduction in their risk of cancer recurrence by 32%. Their risk of mortality was reduced by 29%. This beneficial association with soy was seen regardless of whether the women had estrogen-  receptor-positive or negative breast cancer. The next chance you have, fuel up on soy."

Dairy Free Tofu Feta

The amount that’s beneficial to health in human studies is 10 grams of soy protein per day, which is found in 1/2 cup of tofu (about the size of a deck of cards). Other forms of soy include: plain, unsweetened soy milk (1 cup), edamame (1 cup), tempeh (fermented soybeans) (1/2 cup), black soybeans (1/2 cup) or roasted soybeans (1/6 cup).

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