The Secret of Asian Women
It is a well-known fact that Asian women have a much lower incidence of breast cancer compared to women in North America and Western Europe. Women in Japan for instance have one seventh of breast cancer rates compared to women in US and Canada. To illustrate the point, there was a study conducted measuring breast cancer incidence in Asian women in both San Francisco and Shanghai showing that women in San Francisco have a much higher rates of breast cancer. (So much for the gene theory as a significant indicator of breast cancer incidence). It has been shown in many studies that Asian women’s estrogen levels are 40% lower compared to their sisters living in North America. Also, interesting to note that as Asian women migrate to North America within one or two generations their breast cancer rates are the same as everyone else’s living in North America. Unfortunately as their traditional diets are changing their breast cancer rates are going up. So what is it that is happening in Asia that protects women from breast cancer?
One significant factor is: their diet. First, their animal product consumption is much lower, including meat and dairy products. They do, however, eat more soy and mushrooms, and drink more green tea. Most significant is one additional food they eat that stands out prominently and that is - SEAWEED. Studies have shown that seaweed is effective at killing cancer cells in Perti dish experiments. Compared to a widely used chemotherapy drug, seaweed worked better and without harming normal cells. In human population trials it has been shown to cut the incidence of breast cancer in half by consuming a single sheet of Nori. (Same nori commonly used as a wrap for sushi).
The more seaweed you eat the less estrogen you have in your body, this in turn lowers your risk for breast cancer. The connection between estrogen and breast cancer risk has been well established. Seaweed and many sea vegetables also contain special fibers that help your body to flush excess hormones. In addition, seaweed contains iodine and breast tissue is a sponge for iodine. Many women (and men) are iodine deficient, especially those living in the Great Lakes Region, Northwestern US and most of Canada. Iodine is an essential trace element and iodine deficiency gives rise to goiter and low-functioning thyroid, fibrocystic breast, weight gain, depression, fatigue and low basal body temperature. For centuries, iodine also has been used as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent thus treating and preventing many infections.
There are many delicious seaweed products and snacks other than the above-mentioned Nori, and fortunately they are becoming more available. Kombu is a large type of seaweed that is often used as a soup stock. Wakame has been shown to lower blood pressure and help with weight loss, also used in soups (miso soup) and Sunomono salads. Arame with a mild semi-sweet flavor is used in appetizers, casseroles and soups. Sea vegetables have phytonutrients found nowhere else; they contain special fibers, carotenoids, polysaccharides and polyphenol compounds that have anti-cancer properties.
It is important to note that seaweed just like any other food product must be of the best quality and organic. My preference would be to use traditional Japanese products vs. lower priced Chinese products that may contain other additives and in some cases even heavy metals. Try experimenting with these delicious and nutrient vital foods and incorporate them into your regular diet. Want to significantly lower your risk of breast cancer? – Try seaweed!
Just one or two sheets of Nori per day may keep breast cancer away.
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