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Women Who Eat Soy May Be More Likely to Survive Lung Cancer

Update Date: Mar 26, 2013 02:52 PM EDT

Soy has been found to help protect the body against various cancers and to improve cholesterol. A recent study may add to the list of soy's health benefits: it found that eating more soy may lower the risk of dying from lung cancer.

According to Reuters, the study was conducted by examining data from the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Between 1997 and 2010, 444 women developed lung cancer. On average, the women were 66 years old, and 92 percent of them had never smoked. The women all answered a questionnaire about their eating habits at the start of the study and again two years later.

Of the women with lung cancer, 318 of the women died over the course of the study. The women who ate the least amount of soy were 40 percent more likely to die during that time. On the other hand, women who ate the most amount of soy were about seven to eight percent less likely to die.

As NBC News reports, previous studies on the health effects of soy in the United States left researchers to wonder whether the benefit lay in soy itself, or rather in the exclusion of meat and dairy that often came with an addition of soy to the diet. Because the study was conducted in Asia, where soy is considered to be a staple of the diet and where people eat less dairy, researchers believe that the study can trace the health benefit to soy itself.

However, some researchers hold some reservations about the study, saying that the women who ate more soy may have led healthier lifestyles in addition. That means that more studies will likely need to be carried out on the subject.

For people who might be interested in eating more soy, the amount of soy necessary to receive this health benefit - about 25 grams a day - is not a lot. An eight-ounce glass of soy milk doses out eight grams, a soy burger serves up 10 grams of soy protein and three ounces of tofu provides 8.5 grams. Research has indicated that people are more likely to receive the benefits of soy protein from food rather than from supplements.

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the United States, accounting for 27 percent of all cancer deaths a year.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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