Fight Heart Disease and Cancer with SoyAntioxidants

By Monique N. Gilbert

Antioxidants are compounds that prevent or repair damage to cells caused by pollution, sunlight, and normal body processes. These elements cause oxidation in our body, which produce dangerous chemical compounds called free radicals. These compounds are highly reactive and have the potential to
damage DNA, causing mutations that can result in the malignant transformation of cells. Free radicals can easily cause harm to the immune system, whose cells divide often. They may also be responsible for some of the changes of aging.

We can help the body in its ability to scavenge and destroy free radicals, before they cause harm, by supplying it with natural substances that act as antioxidants. These substances block the chemical reactions that generate free radicals in the first place, and destroy the ones that have already been formed.

Many laboratory studies have documented the strong antioxidant properties of soy isoflavones in the fight against heart disease. Oxidation, the same process that leads to rust on metal, causes fats to harden and form the blockages that damage arteries. Isoflavones incorporate into lipoprotein particles, such as LDL, and protect them from oxidation. This antioxidant effect can reduce the onset of atherosclerosis by decreasing LDL accumulation in blood vessel walls.

A reduced level of oxidative damage is also associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Research has found that the antioxidants in soy foods efficiently and effectively protects cells from free radical damage while boosting the immune system. This, in turn, helps to prevent cancer and premature aging.

Here is a delicious antioxidant-rich, cholesterol-free, heart-healthy and cancer preventing salad dressing.

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

4 ounces silken tofu (1/3 of a 12-ounce block)
4 tablespoons soymilk (1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-1/4 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

    1. Blend ingredients in a food processor until it's creamy smooth.
    2. Transfer to a jar or bottle and completely chill. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes to allow dressing to thicken, and flavors to meld. The longer it chills the better it tastes. Serve over a Mixed Green Salad. Makes about 1 cup (4-6 servings)

This article and recipe are excerpts from the book "Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook" by Monique N. Gilbert (Universal Publishers, $19.95, available at most online booksellers).

Copyright © Monique N. Gilbert - All Rights Reserved.

Monique N. Gilbert, B.Sc. is a Health Advocate, Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor, Recipe Developer, Soy Food Connoisseur and author of "Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook" (Universal Publishers, $19.95, available at most online booksellers). For more information about soy, visit the Virtues of Soy website.

Monique N. Gilbert has a Bachelor of Science degree, is a Certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor and health advocate. She began a low-fat, whole grain, vegetable-rich diet in the mid-1970's. This introduced her to a healthier way of eating and became the foundation of her dietary choices as an adult. She became a full-fledged vegetarian on Earth Day 1990. Over the years she has increased her knowledge and understanding about health and fitness, and the important role diet plays in a person's strength, vitality and longevity. Monique has a Q&A column at Veggies Unite where she gives advice about health, fitness and vegetarian/vegan diets. Monique feels it is her mission to educate and enlighten everyone about the benefits of healthy eating and living.

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