Japanese Miso Soup Cuts Breast Cancer Risk-Study

Andrew Gach unclewolf at olypen.com
Wed Jun 18 09:10:21 EDT 2003

TOKYO (Reuters) - Women who eat three or more bowls of miso soup each day
may cut their breast cancer (news - web sites) risk sharply, Japanese
researchers said on Wednesday.

Miso soup -- a concoction of fermented soybean paste dissolved in broth
flavored with seaweed and bonito that usually includes bean curd and
vegetables -- appears on most Japanese tables at least once a day.
Researchers at Japan's National Cancer Center said they found that the
health benefits from the soup were due to the presence in soybeans of
isoflavones, a powerful phytochemical, or compounds found only in plants.

They tracked the eating habits of 21,852 women aged between 40 and 59 for 10
years from 1990, according to an abstract of their findings published in the
online edition of the U.S.-based Journal of the National Cancer Institute
(news - web sites).

Women who had three or more bowls of miso soup daily reduced their risk of
getting breast cancer by about 40 percent compared with those who had only
one bowl, while women who had two bowls daily cut their risk by 26 percent.
Isoflavones are also a type of plant hormone whose chemical structure
resembles oestrogen, albeit a weaker version. They are found in a number of
legumes, such as chickpeas, but are most concentrated in soybeans.
Isoflavones are believed to provide numerous health benefits besides
reducing breast cancer, including helping prevent coronary heart disease, by
mimicking the effects of oestrogen on various parts of the body. With breast
cancer, they are believed to block the cancer-causing effects of oestrogen.

Other soy food products, such as tofu and natto -- fermented whole
soybeans -- also have a beneficial effect, the researchers were quoted by
the daily Mainichi Shimbun as saying.

Seiichiro Yamamoto, head of the group, was quoted by the paper as saying
that due to miso's high salt content, people should try to balance their soy
intake by eating a number of different foods.


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