Mushrooms, green tea, and soy consumption may decrease breast cancer risk, but how many mushrooms, how much green tea, and what’s the best soy strategy?
Why Do Asian Women Have Less Breast Cancer?,
Image thanks to Nomadic Lass / Flickr.
Mushrooms appear to work in the lab to suppress breast cancer cell growth, but what about in the real world? Though breast cancer is the most common cancer among women around the world, the rate in some areas of the world, such as Asia, is up to six-fold lower than in North America. Maybe it's the green tea and soy? If anything, green tea may only drop risk by about a third. Soy works better, but only, it appears, if you start young. Soy intake anytime is associated with decreased breast cancer risk, but the strongest most consistent effect was for childhood intake, cutting the risk of later breast cancer by as much as half, but if you don’t start consuming soy until teens or adulthood is only associated with a more green tea type 25% drop in breast cancer risk. The best is actually when we do soy throughout our life, though, as “soy intake during childhood and adolescence might provide lifelong protection against breast cancer and sensitize for greater protective effects as an adult. Combined, though, green tea and soy consumption would only account for maybe for a two fold difference in breast cancer risk—not 6-fold, so researchers looked into what else Asian women were eating. They already had that intriguing laboratory mushroom data, and so asked a thousand breast cancer patients how many mushrooms they ate. Then they asked the same question to a thousand healthy women who they tried to match to the cancer patients as closely as possible, age, height, weight, exercise, smoking status, etc. Based on those answers they calculated that women who averaged at least a certain daily serving size of mushrooms appeared to drop their odds of getting breast cancer 64%. What was that average serving size? A half a mushroom a day. Who eats half a mushroom? Well, that was averaged over a month. So compared to women who didn’t regularly eat any mushrooms, those who ate just 15 a month appeared to dramatically lower their risk. Similar protection was found for dried mushrooms. And if you combine mushrooms with green tea, sipping a half teabag worth of green tea every day along with that half a mushroom was associated with nearly a 90% drop in breast cancer odds.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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For background on the role mushrooms may play in suppressing breast cancer growth, see Vegetables Versus Breast Cancer and yesterday’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day Breast Cancer vs. Mushrooms. Green tea may also help account for the Asian Paradox. Which type is best? See Antimutagenic Activity of Green Versus White Tea. And what may be the best way to prepare it? See Cold Steeping Green Tea. I have another video on Breast Cancer Survival and Soy, though it may be possible to overdo it.
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