Phytoestrogen Derived from Edamame

A lesson from Dr. Greger, M.D. FACLM Founder

Edamame are young soybeans still in their pods. They, along with other soy foods like tempehtofu, soymilk, and miso, are high in nutrients typically associated with other legumes, including fiberiron, magnesium, potassium, protein, and zinc.

Soybeans naturally contain a class of phytoestrogens (phyto= plant) called isoflavones (estrogenic and antiestrogenic). People hear “estrogen” in “phytoestrogens” and assume that means soy has estrogen-like effects. Not necessarily. Estrogen has positive effects in some tissues and potentially negative effects in others. Soy, it seems, lowers breast cancer risk, an antiestrogenic (positive) effect, but can also help reduce menopausal hot-flash symptoms, a proestrogenic (meaning negative) effect. By eating edamame and other soy foods, you may enjoy the best of both worlds.

Soy for breast cancer? Researchers found that women with breast cancer whose tumors were responsive to estrogen (estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer) and those whose tumors were not (estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer) and who ate the most soy lived significantly longer and had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer recurrence than those who ate less. And of course you should always discuss this with your doctor.

Soy consumption has also been shown to benefit our kidneys, which appear to handle plant and animal proteins very differently. Within three hours of eating tuna, for example, kidney filtration rate can shoot up 36 percent as our kidneys rev up into hyperfiltration mode, yet eating the same amount of protein in the form of tofu doesn’t appear to place any additional strain on the kidneys. So if you are worried about eating to much animal based protein, soy can be your answer!

Below are a few links that provide more insight to the long standing controversy surrounding soy.

-Below is a link to search non-gmo soy based products (be specific about the brand or the for of the soy product).

To see more information on soy please visit

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Tanya HW

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