The rising incidence of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Dietary influences: a possible preventive role for nature's sex hormone modifiers - the phytoestrogens (review).
Published online on: July 1, 1999
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The rise in breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men in Western societies this century, stimulated a search for any possibly reversible aetiological associations common to both. Apart from more citizens living to an older age the most significant associated factor in common is the dietary practices of communities most at risk, particularly a decreasing Western dependence on plant foods with increasing dietary animal fats. Plant foods, especially legumes like soy, contain phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens). They are natural hormone modifying agents and give balance to levels of circulating hormones in both sexes. Animal fats hinder hormone modulation. They retain and slowly release unwanted stored hormones. To reverse this situation Western communities could revert to Asian type diets with high soy content but a more practical approach might be to add concentrated soy or other phytoestrogen product to a fat reduced Western diet.