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Soybean May Reverse Growth of Colon, Liver and Prostate Cancers by Up to 73 Percent

Update Date: Mar 20, 2013 02:24 PM EDT

The rhyme says "Beans, beans, the magical fruit." Despite the fact that beans are not a fruit, maybe we should have been focusing our attention on the soybean instead. A recent study found that soybean meal, a co-product after oil is extracted from the plant seeds, can significantly lower the risk of colon cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer. That is particularly good news considering that, according to the National Cancer Institute, those cancers make up three of the top 10 cancers in the United States.

The study authors, all from the University of Arkansas, looked at three particular types of soybean. After extracting soybean meal from the plant, the researchers isolated a protein from it. From there, the researchers looked even closer by analyzing gastrointestinal resistant peptides in that protein. Once the researchers had analyzed the peptide hydrolysates, they looked at the molecule's effect on cancer cells of the colon, liver and prostate.

The researchers found that the peptide had a significant effect on the cancer. The cells inhibited growth of colon cancer by 73 percent, liver cancer cells by 70 percent and lung cancer cells by 68 percent. The researchers found that, the higher the dosage was, the stronger the effect was. It appears that the three types of soybeans could hold a positive effect in the fight against those forms of cancer.

While the study is encouraging, do not expect to see soybean meal on the shelves of your grocery store anytime soon. That is because soybean meal is primarily used to feed livestock and fish. However, the benefits can likely be found from any soy products, as long as they come from those types of soybeans. According to the Mayo Clinic, soy products are plentiful: while soy milk and tofu are just the start, soy flour can also be found in diverse products like chorizo and doughnuts.

Previous research on the health benefits of soy has found that it may decrease the risk of breast cancer in women, cardiovascular disease and even preserve brain function.

The most recent research on the power of the soybean was published in the journal Food Research International.

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