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Dr. Debra Shapiro (vegan): Champion of Women’s Health, Part 1 of 3

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Dr. Shapiro is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and has been practicing medicine for nearly 25 years. Apart from helping patients as a specialized surgeon, Dr. Shapiro became a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator so that she could teach people the skills to help themselves through adopting a healthy vegan lifestyle.

As a professional health coach, Dr. Shapiro is in a unique position to clarify issues related to diet and the well-being of the body, especially with regards to women’s health and breast cancer. “Soy, whole soy foods, we're talking about tempeh, tofu, this is organic, edamame, soy milk. Whole soy foods are extremely helpful and will reduce your risk of breast cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States alone, it is estimated that 281,000 invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2021, and 43,600 women will die from this disease. “So, we're talking about a diet that's centered around whole plant foods. They will not increase your risk of breast cancer. They will also decrease the risk of prostate cancer in men. Now initially, when studies were being done on soy and especially on the soy phytoestrogen, they found that soy has something in it called isoflavones.”

“So, eating more soy, especially early in life… if you can start your baby off on breast milk and then move to soy milk, you can see almost a 50% or almost 60% decrease in breast cancer later in life.” Whole soy products containing high concentrations of isoflavones can help create the further beneficial effect of producing equol in the digestive system of the human body. Not everyone has the bacteria required to transform isoflavones into equol, but a study found vegetarians are 4-times more likely to be able to produce equol compared to non-vegetarians.

Dr. Shapiro takes us to explore the benefits of soy from a genetic perspective. “Well, soy isoflavones upregulate the gene for DNA repair. So even if you carry that BRCA mutation, if you eat more soy, you're going to get more DNA repair, genetically speaking.”

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