Both clinical and epidemiological data suggest that dietary estrogens may have a beneficial effect on the human endocrine system. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, menopausal symptoms, heart disease, and osteoporosis share a common epidemiology in that they are rare in Far Eastern populations eating traditional diets containing soybean products compared with Western populations. However, with Westernization and loss of traditional eating patterns, the pattern of disease incidence is also changing in these countries. Cross-sectional studies have shown higher phytoestrogen levels in the urine and plasma of populations at lower risk of these diseases [28, 91]. This section will focus on the beneficial role which phytoestrogens may play in breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, endogenous hormones, the menstrual cycle, menopausal symptoms, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
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