Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Edamame and Soy...Friend or Foe? And Recipe for Edamame Rice Salad
There has been so much controversy and discussion in the breast cancer community about soy and Edamame and its connection to cancer. Is it okay to eat if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer? The question about this began when animal (rat) research led scientists to believe that soy might be detrimental to women with cancer. It was later found, however, that, in this particular case, rat bodies and human bodies were different, and the study did not show the accurate picture. Rats injected with ER-positive tumor cells were given varying doses of isoflavones had a greater growth of the breast tumors compared to rats given little or no isoflavones, so word went out that soy was dangerous for women with breast cancer. Taking a closer look, however, showed a different picture. Although soy does have isoflavones, it is soy supplements that have the highest concentrations of these isoflavones and so some animal studies have shown negative effects on breast cancer with soy supplements. When the scientists studied humans instead of animals and when they studied soy foods instead of the isolated isoflavones, they got an entirely different picture. These studies have either shown no association between soy and breast cancer, or a protective association, meaning that people who ate more soy had less breast cancer. What about women who have had breast cancer, especially ER-positive breast cancer? And what about women taking the estrogen blocker Tamoxifen? Tamoxifen binds with estrogen receptors, without activating growth in breast cancer cells. In this way, tamoxifen prevents a women’s own estrogen from binding with these cells. As a result, breast cancer cell growth is blocked. Soy isoflavones have chemical structures that look a bit like the estrogen found in a woman’s body. This is where the term phytoestrogen originated. However, phytoestrogens are not the same thing as female estrogens. Soy foods do not contain estrogen. In fact studies studies show that women from both the U.S. and China who consumed 10 mg/day or more of soy had a 25% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence. These protective associations were slightly stronger in women with ER-negative tumors, but in women with ER-positive tumors, the associations also seemed protective regardless of whether the women were taking tamoxifen or not. So eat your edamame and enjoy! Here is a delicioius recipe to get you started.
Edamame Rice Salad
Salad2 tea. salt
2 cups of brown and wild rice blend (or black Japonica rice)
1 cup shelled edamame beans
1 cup thinly sliced, diagonally cut celery
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced, diagonally cut green onions (or scallions)
2 Tab. rice vinegar
3 Tab. tamari
1 Tab. mined ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tea. cayenne
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 Tab. lime juice
1/8 tea. salt
1/2 tea. maple syrup
1 cup mixed nuts (or cashews)
1 Tab. chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped basil
1 Tab. sesame seeds
2 tea. lime juice (or lime wedges to squeeze)
Cook rice according to directions. Cook edemame according to directions.
In a large bowl put all the chopped vegetables. Add the rice once it has finished cooking.
Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl. Toss dressing with rice-vegetable mixture. Stir in the edemame beans, nuts and basil. Serve with cilantro, sesame seeds and lime juice/wedges.
source: One Bite at a Time, Rebecca Katz