Soy Milk Can Trigger Breast Cancer, Really?
Soy milk is now increasingly popular because it is considered suitable for diets. Unfortunately, many people think that this vegetable milk can increase the risk of breast cancer. Is this assumption in accordance with medical facts? Check out the review below.
Link between Soy Milk and Breast Cancer Risk
Like milk in general, soy milk is rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. In fact, soy milk tends to be safer for consumption by someone who has lactose intolerance or is allergic to cow’s milk.
The nutritional content in soy milk can also reduce blood cholesterol levels while increasing cardiovascular health.
It’s just that, many people are worried about the content of phytoestrogens or isoflavones in soy milk. This content is said to be similar to the hormone estrogen in a woman’s body and can increase the risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.
There have been many studies conducted to determine the link between breast cancer and soy milk. Unfortunately, the results of this study actually sparked new debates, rather than produce definitive facts.
For example, there is research that proves that there is a group of people who are accustomed to consuming food made from soybeans for decades and have not experienced any effects.
However, there are also studies that have resulted in the fact that the phytoestrogen content in soy can interfere with the chemotherapy process in breast cancer patients.
Thus, the relationship between soybeans and breast cancer still requires further research to ensure the benefits and safety for health.
Also Read: Is it true that frequent use of deodorant triggers breast cancer?
Benefits of Soybeans for Breast Cancer
In one study, rats processed soybeans differently than humans. To understand how, a little background is needed. Soybeans are known to store several types of phytoestrogens (isoflavones). Phytoestrogens are plant-based substances that function like estrogen in the body.
Estrogen is a hormone that plays a very important role in the development and growth of female sexual characteristics.
According to the American Cancer Society, certain types of breast cancer have been traced to an increase in estrogen in the body. This is what makes researchers worry about soy and breast cancer.
But in humans, these phytoestrogens turn into genistein and daidzein, two isoflavones that are very different and much weaker than the human hormone estrogen.
In fact, soy has been shown to inhibit the action of estrogen in tissues. In tissue with breast cancer cells, estrogen can stimulate the multiplication of cancer cells. When soy blocks a stronger form of estrogen, it plays an active role in reducing the risk of breast cancer.
Benefits of Soy Milk for Health
The following are various other health benefits that can be obtained if we regularly consume soy milk, including:
1. Healthy Heart
The content of amino acids and isoflavones in soy milk can help reduce cholesterol levels effectively. In addition, this content will also help maintain blood pressure balance.
Patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes are strongly advised to regularly consume soy milk to maintain heart and blood vessel health.
2. Prevent Osteoporosis
Soy milk can help prevent osteoporosis, especially in women who have entered the menopause phase. This is due to the presence of calcium content in it which is quite high.
3. Healthy digestion
The content of protein, fat and carbohydrates in soy milk can support digestive health. In addition, the isoflavone content in it will also make the intestine’s performance in absorbing food nutrients better.
4. High Antioxidant Content
The content of antioxidants in soybeans can help the body fight bad exposure to free radicals that can cause diseases such as high cholesterol and cancer. The content of isoflavones can also prevent DNA damage.
5. Prevent Cancer
Soy milk can prevent prostate cancer in men if consumed regularly. It’s just that soy milk that can provide these benefits is made from organic ingredients, not packaged soy milk which usually has added other ingredients such as sweeteners or preservatives.
Also Read: 8 Characteristics of Breast Cancer that are Important for You to Recognize
Other Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer
There are many factors that can increase the risk of preventable breast cancer. However, there are some factors that cannot be prevented, such as increasing age or family history.
However, you can help lower your risk by making healthy lifestyle changes, including:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Be physically active.
- Do not drink alcohol or drink in moderation.
- Breastfeed if possible.
- If you are taking or have been recommended to use hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), it is best to ask your doctor about the risks and find out if they are right for you.
- If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited gene changes, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your cancer risk.
Make sure that the soy milk consumed is not added sweeteners or sugar. It’s just that, if soy milk has been given additional flavors such as chocolate or vanilla, there is a possibility that this milk has added sugar. Therefore, limiting or avoiding these foods is important.
- Anonymous. 2022. What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Breast Cancer?. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/prevention.htm (Accessed March 2, 2023)
- Anonymous. 2020. Can Soy Cause Breast Cancer?. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/does-soy-boost-breast-cancer-risk/ (Accessed March 2, 2023)
- Jessica Migala. 2022. All About Soy Milk: Nutrition, Benefits, Risks, and How It Compares With Other Milks. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/pros-cons-soy-milk/ (Accessed March 2, 2023)
- Stanborough, Rebecca J and Cameron S. 2021. Soy and Breast Cancer: Risk or Benefit?. https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/soy-and-breast-cancer (Accessed March 2, 2023)
- Zeratsky, Katherine. 2022. Will eating soy increase my risk of breast cancer?. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/soy-breast-cancer-risk/faq-20120377. (Accessed March 2, 2023)
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