The Benefits of Soy: Fight Cancer?
Can a cure for cancer really be found in something as simple as soybeans?
According to researchers at the University of Kansas, the answer is "Yes!"
Soybean Peptides Inhibit Cancer Cell Development
Researchers studied the bioactivity of many different types of soybeans and found that the peptides derived from soybean meal, a byproduct of oil extraction from soybean seeds, inhibited growth on various types of cancer cells. The proteins in soybeans also block the development and growth of colon, lung and liver cancer cells. They found that in lab conditions, soy peptides inhibited growth on colon cancer cells by 73%, liver cancer cells by 70% and lung cancer cells by 68%.
The study showed that the soybeans which had the highest levels of oleic acid were the most effective at countering tumor cells and were likely to be the best at reducing cell growth in other types of cancers.
What are Soybeans?
Soybeans, also known as soya beans in the UK, are a type of legume naturally found in East Asia. If you have ever eaten edamame, these are actually immature soybeans. Once boiled, they are a good source of protein and fiber, high in iron and vitamin C with a relatively low calorific value. Soybeans lack the saturated fats found in comparable animal proteins. However, raw soybeans are actually toxic to humans and must be cooked with wet heat to destroy the trypsin inhibitors and make them safe for consumption.
The low-growing soybean plants produce edible beans in clusters of hairy pods. The beans are a useful source of oil as well as being nutritional pulses. They produce more protein per acre than most other crops and the textured vegetable protein they produce is used as an ingredient in other meat and dairy products.
Once the oil has been extracted from the seeds, the remaining soybean meal is used to feed livestock as it is a fat-free source of protein. The soy vegetable oil is also a valuable food product. Soybeans are the source of soy milk and tofu, making them an ideal food for vegetarians and those with intolerance to dairy products.
Soybeans are already considered a healthy food, as they are high in oleic acid and protein. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid which is thought to have many general health benefits. Soybean meal is the byproduct after oil has been extracted from soybean seeds. Proteins make up 40% of the soybean seed nutritional value along with high quantities of beneficial omega-9 fatty acid.
This natural healthy food could eventually become an effective nutraceutical treatment for many different types of cancer, helping millions of people worldwide. This comparatively gentle, natural product may one day replace the painful and harrowing chemical and radiotherapy treatments that are currently used against cancer with limited success.