Phytoestrogens (Salem Health: Cancer)
Cancers treated or prevented: May mitigate breast, prostate, uterine, and possibly lung and colon cancers
Delivery routes: Oral through diet, pill, or capsule
How these compounds work: Phytoestrogens have been touted as natural substances that help prevent certain types of cancer, especially hormone-related cancers such as breast, prostate, and uterine cancer. Phytoestrogens can provide hormonal modulation, which naturally regulates hormones. Though not conclusive, some studies demonstrate that phytoestrogens may also provide some protection against lung and colon cancers.
Phytoestrogens can be absorbed into the body chemistry either to act as estrogens at low levels or to block the estrogen effect at high levels. These substances can mimic a weak estrogen to stimulate or to inhibit the growth of cells. Research has shown that increased exposure to certain hormones can increase the risk of cancer. Phytoestrogens appear to protect the body from hormones that can produce cancer.
The best sources of phytoestrogens occur naturally in plants. More than three hundred foods contain phytoestrogens. The most common ones are whole grains such as oats, wheat, and corn; edible seeds such as flax and sesame; legumes such as lentils, soybeans, sprouts, black beans, and chickpeas; vegetables such as leafy greens, fennel, celery, asparagus, carrots, parsley, and seaweed; fruits such as...
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