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  • Clinical Study: Soybean products and reduction of breast cancer risk

    Soybean foods are rich in precursors of the isoflavone daidzein and genistein, which are heterocyclic phenols similar in structure to oestrogens, and it has been hypothesised that a high dietary intake of soybean products might reduce breast cancer risk by interfering with the action of endogenous oestradiol. The results are in line with the inverse association between intake of soybean products and breast cancer risk suggested from ecological/cross-sectional studies and also from analytical investigations. Thus, case-control studies have found that soybean food intake was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer among premenopausal Singapore women, and both pre- and postmenopausal Asian-American women, although a Chinese case-control study failed to detect any protective effects of soybean food. Cohort studies among Japanese, Japanese-American and Caucasian-American women have also provided some evidence that soybean products may reduce the risk of breast cancer... A recent cohort study based on public health center in Japan found frequent miso soup and isoflavone consumption to be associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer and the protective effect was stronger in postmenopausal women. However, the FFQ applied included only two items for soybean-ingredient foods (i.e. miso soup and soyfoods), making it impossible to investigate differences in effects among types of soybean-ingredient foods. (excerpted from http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v93/n1/full/6602659a.html)
  • Soybean, A Good Provider

    “... Soybean is my husband because it gives me money to take care of my problems, to pay my children’s school fees, and hospital bills. I plant soybean to have money. Sometimes I can harvest up to 10 bags or more. Then I sell some and keep some for my daughter who is in the college at Yandev. When she comes home we sell some bags and she uses the money to buy her books and pay her school fees. She will get a good husband in town because men nowadays don’t want to marry illiterate women… I have also bought many other things that most people would like to have… You see why I said soybean is my husband. I can’t stop it for anything else. How can you leave your husband...” Quote from a female farmer in Abetse Village, Benue State, Nigeria
  • Giant Soybeans for Furniture/Briquettes

    Thomas E. Devine, a geneticist who is with the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory, in Beltsville, Maryland, took some of the giant soybean plants (some 7 feet tall) he bred to Justin Barone, a chemical engineer at the ARS Environmental Management and Byproduct Utilization Laboratory, also in Beltsville. Barone performed a heat-measurement test on a piece of stalk. The stalk took as long to heat up as a piece of pine 2x4 board did. This suggests that cellulose fibers from giant soybean stalks may be strong enough to be made into substitute wood products, such as particleboard, Barone says. The woody biomass of the stalks could also be made into briquettes for combustion to provide energy. (www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/nov06/soybean1106.htm)
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Soy doesn’t harm, and may even help, breast cancer survivors, study finds

Earlier research in animals had raised fears that soy foods might cause a recurrence of the cancer because soy can act like estrogen.  A new study of women finds just the opposite.
December 9, 2009

Soy foods do not appear to increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence among survivors of the disease and may even confer some health benefits, new research suggests.

The study, published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn., should reassure breast cancer survivors that they need not scrupulously avoid soy foods, which have become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years. Research in animals has indicated that soy might increase the chances of breast cancer recurrence because it can act like the hormone estrogen, which promotes tumor growth.

“Some doctors have advised women not to eat soy foods,” said Dr. Xiao Ou Shu, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and lead author of the paper. “But another school of physicians think it’s safe. So it has been controversial. Our findings are important because, nowadays, it’s very difficult to avoid soy exposure. Soy flour and soy protein has been added to many foods in this country. Women may consume it and not even know it.” Continue reading


FAO Organizes Summit On Food Security

The following article from allafrica.com brings into focus the compelling reasons why a Philippine Soybean Authority should be created to promote soybean agriculture to alleviate the food security issues–malnutrition, for instance–which adversely affect  the lives of an alarmingly significant and growing segment of the population of the Philippines.

In the chapter on Health, Nutrition and Cognitive Processing of Helen Abadzi’s Efficient Learning for the Poor:  Insights from the Frontier of Cognitive Neuroscience, the issue of malnutrition looms large on each child’s early brain development and his ability to make choices in life. In the Philippines, more than 6 million children are reportedly malnourished, more than 4 million of those are of school age.

[You may also check out the companion articles, “Renewed Commitment to End Hunger” and, on a positive note, “Some nations successful in global hunger fight: FAO.”]

By Stan Okenwa
17 November 2009

Amid global concern over food insecurity situation, which continues to impose serious threat for humanity, the world leaders have designed a summit to stem the tide of the insecurity. With food prices remaining stubbornly high in developing countries, the number of people suffering from hunger has been growing relentlessly in recent years.

The global economic crisis is aggravating the situation by affecting jobs and deepening poverty. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that the number of hungry people could increase by more than 100 million in 2009 and will surpass the one billion mark. Continue reading

Poring over facts about milk: cow’s, goat’s, soy, almond, rice and hemp

Some are richer in protein, others in essential fatty acids. There are pros and cons to all.

A variety of "milks" and dairy substitutes, including, from left; rice milk, hemp milk, cow milk, soy milk, almond milk and goat milk.

Full-fat, low-fat or skim? Used to be, there weren’t many choices to make over what to pour on your cereal. But the number of alternatives to cow’s milk — soy, goat’s, hemp milk, more — has steadily grown.Each has its fans: those who swear by goat’s milk’s creamy texture or who love almond milk’s subtle, nutty flavor. But when it comes to nutrition, there’s no clear winner.


Cow’s milk is a good source of protein but can be high in saturated fats. Hemp milk offers little protein but is rich in certain essential fatty acids. For some, an allergy is the main concern when choosing milk. For others, digestibility drives the decision. “There are dozens of differences in all of these milks,” says Alexandra Kazaks, professor of nutrition at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash.

Here’s a look at the nutritional pros and cons of standards and newcomers in the dairy case. Continue reading

Filipina cited for “commitment and passion” for small cocoa farmers

MANILA, Philippines — A Filipina received an award from the World Cocoa Foundation in Washington, D.C. for promoting development opportunities for Filipino cocoa farmers.

Josephine Ramos, founding member and Operations Manager of Cocoa Foundation Philippines, Inc. (CocoaPhil), was cited for her “commitment and passion” for the small cocoa farmer.

“CocoaPhil (www.cocoaphil.org), a member of the WCF, is the umbrella organization for the Philippine cocoa industry actively promoting integrated and sustainable development practices by providing assistance on cocoa production, post-harvest processing, pest and disease management and marketing,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

It said Ramos was given the award during WCF’s 15th Partnership Meeting reception in Washington, DC.

CocoaPhil’s Success Alliance program, aimed at assisting at least 15,000 smallholder cocoa farmers, received funding from USAID (2002-2005) and the US Department of Agriculture (2006-present).

It also has support from the WCF and Mars, Inc., along with the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the LGUs in Basilan, Palawan, Northern Luzon, Davao, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Antique.

Would have been an award for “commitment and passion” for Filipino soybean farmers…..

Philippines starts testing Chinese milk products

The above was the headline in today’s (September 22, 2008) Philippine Daily Inquirer, written by Tarra Quismundo and Thea Alberto for the Agence France-Press, Reuters, INQUIRER.net. Something that would have been easily avoided had the country taken serious steps to get into full-scale soybean farming and produce its own protein-rich soy milk products.  Here’s the rest of the news item:

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) The Philippines is testing dairy imports from China and will slap a ban on these if found contaminated with an industrial chemical that had sickened nearly 53,000 Chinese children.

“We will have to recall all these products if there is evidence they contain melamine,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Monday.

Melamine, normally used in making plastics, was first found in infant milk formula in Chinese markets but has since been detected in a range of products with dairy ingredients both in China and abroad.

Manila’s Bureau of Food and Drugs has confirmed that 15 China-made milk products were being sold in the Philippines. Continue reading

Our Earlier Attempts At Soybean Farming

In fairness, there are at least two earlier notable attempts to jumpstart soybean farming in the Philippines:  once in the early 1980s and another earlier in this decade.  Perhaps the apparent lack of interest in soybean farming may be attributed to the fact that the role of soybean in human nutrition–in spite of the wide-ranging health benefits derived from its consumption–is extremely limited in the Philippines. The use of soybean as curd (tokwa), sprouts or as the basis for sauces ( soya sauce) is virtually nil. Surprisingly, the use of roasted soybean enjoys some popularity as a coffee substitute. The use of soybean in the Philippines has primarily been as a livestock feed.  Of the domestic production and imports of soybean, 70% to 90% is gobbled up as animal feed. Continue reading

Soybean Farming & Microfinancing: Tying Them Together

There is no question that there is a tremendous domestic demand for soybean food products (e.g., soy sauce, tokwa or tofu, taosi, soymilk, etc.) for human consumption and soybean meal for the livestock industry because we are driven at the present to import most of the soybean we need.  In time, the future Philippine Soybean Authority will be able to make a case for soybean as the inexpensive substitute for expensive protein sources, such as meat, milk, eggs, fish, etc., vital to the healthy physical and mental development of our people. This will raise the demand for soybean foods even further.

It is a foregone conclusion that there is a market awaiting the output of future local soybean farmers.  But how else are we going to entice farmers to cultivate soybeans as an alternative and profitable crop right away and, a very important consideration, where are they going to get financing? Continue reading

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