Day: October 1, 2015

Green Skin?

Broccoli sprouts help fight cancer

Broccoli Sprouts and Skin

While we’re on the subject of broccoli and skin, according to scientists, broccoli sprouts contain a chemical called sulphoraphane, which activates cancer-fighting enzymes inside cells. Investigators smeared broccoli sprout extract on the skin of six volunteers for three days, and then exposed them to high doses of ultraviolet radiation.

They found there was an average 37 percent less redness and sunburn in the patches covered by the sulphoraphane extract. So far they haven’t figured out how to make a sunscreen from it that won’t turn your skin a lovely shade of green. Certainly eating more broccoli sprouts may offer some skin cancer and even other cancer protection and you can take sulphoraphane as a supplement.

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Beauty Tip

woman with beautiful skin from vitamin A

Vitamin A and Anti-aging

I’m a big believer that it’s what’s inside (and what goes inside) that counts. But we all would like to be more beautiful and here’s some research on vitamin A that can help.

Topical retinol (vitamin A, 0.4% lotion, applied 3 times per week for 24 weeks) improves fine wrinkles associated with natural aging. Significant induction of glycosaminoglycan and increased collagen production are most likely responsible for the demonstrated improvement. Retinol-treated skin is more likely to withstand skin injury and ulcer formation along with improved appearance.

It stands to reason that consuming more Vitamin A (in the form of Beta carotene from green leafy veggies and orange veggies) should also help.

Do Phytoestrogens Cause Breast Cancer?

do phytoestrogens from soy cause cancer

Should I Avoid Phytoestrogens?

The short answer is, no.

What are phytoestrogens?

These are plant compounds that can act like estrogen in our bodies.  They are found naturally in a wide array of foods including soy beans, kidney beans, flaxseeds, sprouts, cabbage, spinach, soybeans, grains, hops, garlic, onion, plums, pears, apples, grapes and berries.

Can phytoestrogens cause or worse hormone-related conditions like cancer or endometriosis?

All of the present evidence appears to point toward a protective effect from phytoestrogens. Although phytoestrogens can bind to estrogen receptor sites and stimulate estrogen-like activity, they are very weak.  Much weaker than your own estrogen and weaker than chemical estrogens like BPA from plastic, pesticides and herbicides. Because they are very weak, phytoestrogens may exert a protective effect against cancer.  They do so by taking up receptor sites that otherwise these other very potent estrogens could bind to.  This is a similar action to the breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen. Any research on soy and breast cancer, for example, suggests a protective effect.  Curcumin, an extract from turmeric, also contains phytoestrogens.  It has a multitude of benefits for breast cancer patients.
I’m not saying you should go out and consume copious amounts of soy, but I also wouldn’t fear tofu or edamame.
If you would like to read more about phytoestrogens, there is a more detailed paper here: Phytoestrogens: food or drug?