Edamame (soy beans)

Anti-inflammatory. Blood sugar regulation. Anti-Cancer. Soy consumption has been linked with bone and cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and relief from the hot flashes associated with menopause.

Soy foods are good sources of protein, and many are also good sources of fiber, potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. Soy foods contain significant iron, but it's not clear how well our bodies absorb it. Soymilk, tofu made with calcium, and soybeans are good sources of calcium. Soy is also a good source of polyunsaturated fat, both the omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) types.

Soy contains a variety of phytochemicals and active compounds:

  • Isoflavones: a group of phytoestrogens that includes genistein, daidzein and glycitein

  • Saponins: studies suggest these compounds may lower blood cholesterol, protect against cancer and affect blood glucose levels

  • Phenolic Acids: this group of phytochemicals is being studied for their potential to stop cancer cells from spreading

  • Phytic Acid: commonly found in cereals and legumes, it can act as an antioxidant

  • Enzyme-regulating proteins: these include protease inhibitors and protein kinase inhibitors

  • Sphingolipids: they seem to play a role in regulating cell growth, self-destruction of abnormal cells and progression of tumors


Soy and Cancer Prevention

Because natural soy foods contain isoflavones, which is similar to estrogen, some people incorrectly fear that soy may raise their risk for hormone sensitive cancers, like certain breast and prostate cancers. However, when it comes to soy isoflavones, these phytoestrogens are weak estrogens and actually have anti-estrogen properties which can help prevent and treat cancer. Several studies show that women who eat soy are less likely to get breast cancer. 

Studies among prostate cancer survivors indicate that eating soy foods may lower PSA levels. Among men in various stages of prostate cancer, those who consumed soy milk or isolated soy isoflavones saw their PSA levels rise at a slower rate.  Read more - the Truth About Soy

Soybeans, soy nuts and edamame all contain fiber. And a diet high in fiber may lower the risks for several cancers, including colorectal cancer.