Biochemical factors in food can be used to influence a person’s health concerns. The foods you consume not only provide nourishment for every cell of you body, but can also act as medicine. The potential for soy foods to reduce risk of cancer has been a major topic of research in the past few years. Soy contains isoflavones, compounds which bind to estrogen receptors and act like week estrogens in the body. The relationship between soy foods and breast cancer has had some controversy because some preliminary studies in animals, but none in humans, showed that isoflavones may stimulate the growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer. Overall, there is no clinical evidence to suggest that isoflavones will increase breast cancer risk or worsen the prognosis of women with breast cancer. In fact recent studies are showing soy to be protective against breast cancer. Research that examined 18 studies from 1978 to 2004 showed that soy consumption was related to decreased risk of breast cancer (Journal of National Cancer Institute, 2006;98: 459-71). Components of soy have also been shown to increase bone mineral density (preventing osteoperosis) (Bone Mineral, 1992;19:57-62), and decrease menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes (Menopause, 2006; 13: 831-839).
With all the health benefits of soy, it is time to start incorporating it into your diet. This may be a new food for you, but it is very versatile and easy to use. Fermented soy is easy to digest for people with sensitive stomachs, and with this cold weather, another soup recipe is always welcome.
Quick-and-Easy Miso Soup
- 8 oz. homemade vegetable or chicken stock (see below re. packaged stocks)
- 1 T low-sodium miso paste
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 T of minced garlic
- 1/4 chopped zucchini
- 1 – 2 cups frozen vegetables (This or this would be delicious)
- 10 small shiitake mushrooms (if not already included in your veggie mix)
- Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- 1/4 t flaw oil per serving
- Optional: wakame or kombu seaweed, precooked soba noodles, sprouted beans or lentils, green onions
In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer. Add the miso paste and minced garlic & ginger. Stir until well combined into the broth. Add in the chopped zucchini and let the soup simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the frozen vegetables and shiitakes, and simmer 4-5 more minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Pour soup into bowl(s) and garnish with fresh cilantro and drizzle with flax oil.