Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens. Because they possess estrogen-like activity, they interfere with estrogen’s ability to interact with and encourage the growth of certain cancer cells.

Studies have shown that these phytoestrogens may help to alleviate problems associated with menopause, including hot flashes and osteoporosis. Isoflavones may also be partially to credit for the cholesterol-reducing action of soy foods.

Numerous isoflavones exist and include diadzein, genistein, and glycitein.

Isoflavones - Found in:

Beans, Soy Beans,
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Messina, M., Barnes, S., and Setchell, K.D.R. 1997. Phytoestrogens and breast cancer. Lancet 350: 971- 972. Barnes S. Evolution of the health benefits of soy isoflavones. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998; 217:386-392.Constantinou AI, Mehta RG, Vaughan A. Inhibition of N-methyl-N-nitrosourea-induced mammary tumors in rats by the soybean isoflavones. Anticancer Res. 1996; 16:3293-3298.Grodstein F, Mayeux R, Stampfer MJ. Tofu and cognitive function: food for thought (Editorial). J Am Coll Nutr. 2000; 19:207-209.Klein KO. Isoflavones, soy-based infant formulas, and relevance to endocrine function. Nutr Rev. 1998; 56:193-204.Kurzer MS, Xu X. Dietary phytoestrogens. Annu Rev Nutr. 1997; 17:353-381.Merz-Demlov BE, Duncan AM, Wangen KE, et al. Soy isoflavones improve plasma lipids in normocholesterolemic premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000; 71:1462-1469.Third International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease. J Nutr. 2000; 130:653S-711S.Tikkanen MJ, Adlercreutz H. Dietary soy-derived isoflavone phytoestrogens. Biochem Pharmacol. 2000; 60:1-5.White LR, Petrovitch H, Ross GW, et al. Brain aging and midlife tofu consumption. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000; 19:242-255.Crouse JR III, Morgan T, Terry JG, et al. A randomized trial comparing the effect of casein with that of soy protein containing varying amounts of isoflavones on plasma concentrations of lipids and lipoproteins. Arch Intern Med. 1999; 159:2070-2076.

About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.

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