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Soy Protein: Can It Really Prevent Cancer? Essay

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Soy Protein: Can It Really Prevent Cancer?

Society possesses a natural fear of the disease cancer. Even though this term is common, uncertainty surrounds its meaning. What exactly is cancer? A simple definition for a complicated disease is this: abnormal cell growth. Cancer can develop in just about any part of the body, and as abnormal cells grow, they crowd and destroy healthy tissue. This disease is not infectious, for if it were, a vaccination would have probably been developed by now. However, extensive research is continuously being conducted to find a cure or more effective treatments for this mysterious disease.

"Evidence shows that lifestyles and diet are mostly responsible for the different cancer rates
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This term simply refers to chemicals involved in plants, plant processes, and plant products. One chemical in soybeans is phytate. Phytate is an organic acid present in the hulls of plant seeds. It is the storage form of the mineral phosphorous. This chemical binds iron and calcium in the intestines. Chemicals called saponins protect DNA from damage and thus from cancer. Protease inhibitors are also found in soy, which is important because the chemical protease inhibits the digestion of protein. Other chemicals are phytosterols, which are derived from plants and inhibit colon cancer growth by shielding against liver-secreted bile acids. Claims have linked phytosterols to both colon and skin cancer. The final group of chemicals to be discussed are collectively called isoflavones. These natural chemicals are unique to soybeans, and one in particular has been extensively studied: genistein. Genistein is believed to be a dietary source that enacts direct tumor cell differentiation, or it simply slows cancer cell and tumor growth. Perhaps this chemical will emerge as an anticancer drug.

A "Top 10" list of benefits of soy has been published. Five of the ten benefits are a direct correlation to cancer and are summarized as follows: 1. Antioxidant: protects against cell damage that may be linked to various
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