Meet GUEST BLOGGER Faith Franz. Faith is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center, an organization that provides support and resources for people and families with this rare disease. Faith also likes to spread the word about the benefits of alternative medicine.
Tofu –it’s what’s for dinner. (If you’re trying to naturally prevent lung cancer growth, that is.)
In a recent 2013 article, researchers from the University of Arkansas found that soybeans with a high oleic acid content could inhibit the growth of several cancers by up to 70 percent. Among the malignancies:
- Lung cancer (growth reduced by 68%)*
- Colon cancer (growth reduced by 73%)*
- Liver cancer (growth reduced by 70%)*
This was certainly not the first study to identify anti-cancer benefits in soy. Other studies exploring the correlation between soy and lung cancer date back to 1985, and one published this month indicates high-soy diets may correlate with longer cancer survival rates. (That study found that women who ate more than 21 grams of soy protein per day were more likely to reach five-year survival after a lung cancer diagnosis.)*
However, this study was the first note these specific bioactive benefits in three individual soy protein isolates. The University of Arkansas was also the first organization to identify two of the three high-oleic acid soybean varieties, as part of an ongoing soybean breeding program.
Oleic acid – the main fat component in the much-acclaimed olive oil – is also associated with breast cancer inhibition.
Lab workers tested each of the soy isolates against cell lines from lung, colon and liver cancer samples. They found that growth for each type of cancer significantly slowed after exposure to the soy isolates, and that higher doses produced greater results.
Several other food-derived compounds offer lung cancer inhibitory benefits. These include reservatrol, an antioxidant in red wine, and curcumin, the main component of the Indian herb turmeric.
Tofu, Two Ways
Tofu has a bad reputation as a bland, oddly textured food. But when prepared correctly, nothing can be further from the truth.
Just like you wouldn’t serve raw, unseasoned meat, you can’t serve raw, unseasoned tofu. It needs a zesty marinade and some added fat to taste its best. It also needs to be pressed to remove excess water; without pressing, it’ll be soggy, no matter how long you cook it.
You’ll need to be sure to purchase tofu that’s certified organic or made from non-genetically modified soybeans. (The health effects of genetically modified foods are not completely known, but what we do know suggests that they’re not ideal for health). While the study uses soybeans that are bred to have higher-than-average oleic acid concentrations, there are several natural ways to breed non-modified high-oleic acid soybeans.
The following two soy-based recipes are full of plant-based protein (more than 15 grams per serving):
Crispy Baked Garlic Tofu (serves one)
1/3 package organic tofu
1 whole egg
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Thinly slice tofu; press between paper towels for five minutes to remove moisture.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In one bowl, whip together the egg and garlic paste. In another bowl, blend together the Panko, onion, cayenne, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Dip each tofu slice into the egg mixture, then roll in Panko coating. Arrange on a greased cookie sheet, then bake 10-13 minutes until crispy). Serve warm.
Easy Tofu Stir Fry (serves one)
1/3 package organic tofu
1 floret fresh broccoli
½ cup sliced carrots
1 can baby corn or water chestnuts
¼ cup organic soybean oil
Teriyaki sauce and soy sauce, to taste
1 serving brown rice or soba noodles
- Cut tofu into cubes; press between paper towels for five minutes to remove moisture.
-Cook rice/noodles according to package.
- Add vegetables, oil, teriyaki sauce and soy sauce to a wok (or skillet). Sautee for 5 minutes; add tofu cubes. Sautee another 4-6 minutes, flipping the cubes so each side gets firm and brown.
If desired, add another dash of teriyaki or soy; serve over the rice or soba noodles.
Do you cook with soy? If so, what are your favorite tofu or tempeh recipes? If you try out either of these recipes, let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Rayaprolu, S. J., Hettiarachchy, N. S., Chen, P., Kannan, A., & Mauromostakos A. (2013). Peptides derived from high oleic acid soybean meal inhibit colon, liver and lung cancer cell growth. Food Research International; 50 (1).