Researchers at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center compared the diets of 1,674 lung cancer patients and 1,735 people of similar ages and sex who did not have cancer and found that eating beans and soya appear to reduce lung cancer risk by as much as 46%. The protective effect is thought to be due to oestrogen-like compounds found in the food. They believe that the oestrogen-like compounds act on receptors in the body which regulate cancer growth.
These findings back those of others who have noticed Asian populations who typically consume large quantities of phytoestrogens have lower rates of lung cancer than othe populations.
Dr. Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK said: "This research highlights the importance of a healthy diet in preventing cancer, and demonstrates the role that a person's lifestyle plays in the disease. Although this study is relatively small, it points towards the potential benefits of plant chemicals in preventing lung cancer. However, it is essential not to forget that 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer and a quater of all cancer deaths are caused by smoking."