Sunflower Seeds & Soy Foods May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

A German public health study published last year by the Nutrition and Cancer journal suggests that consuming foods rich in phytoestrogens may substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer, especially later in life (after menopause).

The case-control clinical study involved a close look into the dietary behaviors of 2,884 postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,509 women of similar age who did not have breast cancer. The volunteers’ individual risk factors were taken into assessment when the researchers analyzed their data. Questionnaires were administered to the study participants, specifically focusing on the frequency with which they consumed phytoestrogen-rich foods.


Phytoestrogens are substances in plant foods that have subtle estrogen-like effects in the body. As estrogen has been labeled as a risk factor for breast cancer, there has been concern that regular consumption of phytoestrogens may also increase the risk of breast cancer. However, some of the strongest data citing phytoestrogen consumption and breast cancer risk has found certain phytoestrogen-rich foods to decrease the risk of breast cancer. 


There were three foods in the study that were found to have a significant association with a reduced risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and soy foods. Regular intake of soy foods was shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by 17 percent, while regular consumption of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds was shown to lower the risk of breast cancer by 34 percent. It is interesting to note that flaxseed, which contains a very high amount of phytoestrogens, did not appear to lower the risk of breast cancer in this study.


The results of this study suggest that some form of phytoestrogens may decrease the risk of breast cancer. While these findings on phytoestrogens may seem contradictory because of their ability to weakly imitate estrogen in the body, recent research has found phytoestrogens to have multifaceted effects on estrogen receptors located in breast cells and on other cells that are sensitive to hormones. Additionally, these plant-derived substances may have the ability to block the effects of estrogen on estrogen receptors in breast cells, thereby simulating medications like tamoxifen and raloxifene that are used to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in patients.


This is exciting news for Sunrich Naturals consumers who have already been enjoying the other health benefits of soy and sunflower seeds from our SoL Beverage, Roasted Snacks, and Soymilk. Our delicious, all-natural products are made from whole, non-GMO soybeans and sunflower kernels. This study is just one more reason you can feel good about enjoying Sunrich Naturals products.


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