Soy Foods in Moderation Safe for Breast Cancer Survivors

Women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer don’t need to worry about eating moderate amounts of soy foods, according to AICR 2011 Research Conference speaker Bette J. Caan, DrPH, Senior Research Scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

Soy foods contain compounds called isoflavones, phytochemicals found to behave like the sex hormone estrogen, which is linked to promotion of breast cancer. Yet soy foods have for the most part been associated with a lower risk of breast cancer — especially in Asian countries where unprocessed  soy foods like tofu are a regular part of the diet from an early age.

There has also been concern because of the estrogen-like qualities of soy foods that in survivors, these foods might interfere with the benefits of tamoxifen therapy. That’s why some doctors caution breast cancer patients against eating soy foods like tofu, edamame, tempeh and soy milk.

Today, at AICR’s annual conference session on Cancer Treatment and Survivorship, Dr. Caan stated that enough evidence seems to have accumulated from human studies of breast cancer survivors to relieve fears that soy foods may increase breast cancer risk or recurrence.

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Recreating Your Favorite Menu Items at Home

Here at the Research conference, attendees are able to look forward to even more than expert sessions on the most current topics in diet and cancer. Today in between presentations on ‘Diet and Cancer Prevention’ and ‘Cancer Treatment and Survivorship’, we served up a savory, nutritious lunch menu, including:

  • Tagine Spiced Pan Seared Chicken Breast
  • Farro Garbanzo Pilaf
  • Cider Braised Red Cabbage (Link to Health-e-Recipe)
  • Baby Carrots
  • Spiced Apple Chutney

This menu is well worth trying at home. To recreate dishes you’ve seen or tried elsewhere, start by looking at similar recipes and substituting ingredients to fit your preferences.

For the tagine spiced pan-seared chicken breast, try this:

Cook about 1 lb. boneless , skinless chicken breast using the ingredients and preparation methods from the Seared Herb Chicken and Veggies recipe. Keep the breast whole instead of cubing it, and take out the veggies from this recipe. Instead, serve your meal with a side of Red Cabbage with Apples.

Today’s lunch follows AICR’s guidelines for the New American Plate with the whole grain farro garbanzo pilaf. Here’s how you can make a similar dish. The extra sauce from the chicken drizzled over this grain dish will add both moisture and great flavor.

Vegetarian Plate

Simple Farro Garbanzo Pilaf

1 cup rinsed farro (makes about 2 cups cooked)
½ cup diced onion
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 cup garbanzo beans, (cooked from dry or canned, drained and rinsed)
2 ½ cups low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan.

Add diced onion and garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes.

Add farro and sauté another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chickpeas and continue sautéing for an additional 3 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil.

Cover pan, reduce to heat to medium low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and farro is soft.

Serve with tagine spiced chicken breast and drizzle extra sauce from chicken over the faro for added moisture.

Makes 6 servings

 Per serving: 200 calories, 4 grams total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 34 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 150 mg sodium.

Voila! You have mixed-and-matched a few recipes to create your own version of a star meal served at this year’s Annual Research Conference.

Some of you may still be wondering, what exactly is farro?

Farro is a grain that looks and tastes similar to brown rice with a slightly nutty flavor. It has a thicker, creamier texture than some other grains, similar to risotto. Farro is high in fiber and research shows that foods containing fiber, such as whole grains reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Have other farro recipes? Share ideas for your favorite dish starring farro.

 

 

 


Red Cabbage Plays Well with Apples

Scientists and health professionals gathering at AICR’s 2011 Research Conference in Washington, DC later this week will be eating healthful meals that fit a cancer-preventive diet. This week’s Health-e-Recipe is a variation on one conference lunch item: Red Cabbage with Apples.

Simple, seasonal and delicious, the red cabbage in this recipe can also add a beautiful fall color to your table. At home, you can serve it with steamed baby carrots, spiced chicken breast, a whole-grain and unsweetened applesauce — a lineup of healthful foods that’s similar to the conference menu.

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower — and full of cancer-fighting phytochemical sulforaphane and other protective compounds. For more delicious recipes for these and other healthful vegetables, visit the AICR Test Kitchen. Click here to subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.

(Photo credit: fotolia.com)