Here's another reason to include soy in your diet: Research shows it may reduce your risk for endometrial cancer. The study reports eating some phytoestrogens or estrogens found in plant foods is especially protective among postmenopausal women.
The development of endometrial cancer is related to prolonged exposure to estrogens without exposure to progesterone. Phytoestrogens are oestrogen-like compounds which occur naturally in many plants and fungi. They are found in many soy-based foods and added to other foods such as white bread, coffee and orange juice. Researchers from the Northern California Cancer Center evaluated the association between dietary intake of seven specific compounds of phytoestrogens and the risk of endometrial cancer.
The study included 500 women between 35 and 79 years old who were diagnosed with endometrial cancer between 1996 and 1999. Study authors also included 470 healthy women. All of the women were questioned about their dietary intakes. Researchers specifically focused on three classes of phytoestrogens including isoflavones, coumestans and lignans.
Researchers report eating foods with isoflavones and lignan, but not coumestans, was associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer. Researchers found obese women who ate the lowest amounts of phytoestrogens had the highest risk of endometrial cancer.
The study concludes some phytoestrogen compounds consumed at the typical level of the American-style diet are associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer.