Local News

Soy Helps Fight Against Alzheimers, Prostate Cancer

Posted April 11, 2001 8:26 a.m. EDT

— Soy is already believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and helps women with the symptoms of menopause. A new study now shows plant-based estrogen found in soy appears to reduce changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's Disease.

Soy was tested against common estrogen therapy in aged female monkeys. The monkeys that received soy had less nerve tangles in their brains compared with the animals that received estrogen or no therapy at all. But the benefits of soy do not end there.

Dr. Mark Messina, a nationally recognized expert and researcher on soy, says soy also plays a big role in preventing prostate cancer.

"I think the data for soy and prostate cancer are probably more impressive than any other field, and yet that is really not a message that is really getting out to the men, because it is usually thought of as soy and women's health," he says.

Soybeans are a unique source of isoflavones. The isoflavones appear to work against prostate cancer in two ways:

First, they start a process that is sort of cancer cell suicide. Second, they inhibit the growth of new blood vessels, which is necessary for tumor survival. Without new blood vessels, tumors starve to death because they cannot get the oxygen and nutrients needed for growth.

"In fact, some recent evidence indicated that men who consume just one serving of soy milk per day had a 70 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, so I strongly recommend that all men consume at least one serving of soy per day," Messina says.

Though many people do not care for the taste of soy, there are palatable ways to include soy in your diet. Try making smoothies or creamy desserts substituting in soy milk. You can even try a glass of chocolate soy milk.

Soy meat replacements have come along way in taste and texture. Soy burgers can be thrown on the grill or crumbled into another dish like chili or a casserole.