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Asian edamame bowl by Hélène Laurendeau, epicurian nutritionist


less than 10 minutes


1 person


  • 330 ml (1 1/3 cups) organic edamame in pods
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) soy sauce
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) rice vinegar
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) toasted sesame oil
  • A pinch of Espelette pepper, to the taste
  • Sesame seeds, if desired
  • Une pincée de piment d’Espelette, au goût
  • Graines de sésame, si désiré


1. Cook the edamame on the stove or in the microwave, following the directions on the bag.

2. Drain the beans and place them in a bowl. Add all seasonings (according to your current tolerance) and mix with a spoon.

3. Enjoy with your fingers, chewing each of the pods to extract the beans with your teeth.


Out more

Hormones are chemical messengers released into the blood to communicate throughout the body. Like a key in a lock, they bind to their respective receptor in a cell and trigger a specific action. Estrogen and progesterone are the two main female hormones. They play a number of essential roles in the body, particularly in the breasts, which are influenced by the fluctuation of these hormones throughout a person’s life.

Phytoestrogens are chemicals naturally present in certain plant-based foods, such as legumes. Soybeans are a source of a phytoestrogen known as isoflavone. As phytoestrogens are structurally similar to estrogen, they have a similar effect once ingested. However, this effect is up to 100 times less potent than synthetic hormones or hormones produced by the body.

Estrogen plays a role in breast-cell growth. The type of breast cell and the duration of its exposure to this hormone influence the risk of eventually developing breast cancer. The cells of hormone-dependent breast cancer have estrogen receptors. When cancer cells attach to these receptors, estrogen stimulates cancer-cell growth. Accordingly, there has been concern that phytoestrogens ingested through food act in the same way as estrogen, thereby promoting the development, progression or recurrence of breast cancer.

However, the scientific data show that phytoestrogens from dietary sources differ from the concentrated and isolated phytoestrogens in supplements.   

The latest scientific data show that eating soy-based food may lower the risk of breast cancer. Moreover, current observations also suggest that soy consumed in moderation as part of a varied and balanced diet poses no danger to breast cancer survivors. Indeed, it may even be associated with a lower risk of recurrence and better survival rates.

Although recent studies provide substantial evidence that there are positive effects from a diet that includes soy before, during and after treatment, the scope of proven benefits varies greatly between studies. The underlying mechanisms explaining the variance in these results is not yet fully understood.

The benefits of consuming soy products may depend on a range of factors and individual differences, such as the capacity to metabolize isoflavones, dietary habits (type and quantity of food consumed, food pairings, frequency and duration of consumption), the time of exposure to isoflavones, a person’s hormonal profile or the characteristics of the breast cancer.

Although studies show benefits from eating soy products, this does not mean that you must eat them, particularly if they are not part of your regular diet.

Ultimately, the data do not currently justify fully and systematically excluding soy products before, during or after breast cancer treatments. Soy is a good source of protein, fibre and micronutrients, and can be integrated into your diet. People can eat soy products in moderation and as part of a varied and balanced diet if they want to. Moderate consumption is one to two portions per day.

Portion examples: 

•100 g of tofu

•100 g of tempeh

•1/2 cup (60 g) of edamame (soy beans)*

•1  1/3 cup of edamame (soy beans) in shells*

•1 cup (250 ml) soy beverage (commonly called soy “milk”)

•25 g of miso

*Follow package instructions for cooking.

Did you know? Surprisingly, soy lecithin and soy sauce do not contain phytoestrogens.

As a precaution, natural sources of soy should be favoured over processed products that include soy proteins, protein isolates, concentrates or powders in the list of ingredients, given that it is impossible to determine the quantity of isoflavones in processed products.

A soy or isoflavone supplement may contain a significant quantity of concentrated and isolated isoflavones. Moreover, studies have revealed an association between the consumption of such supplements and an increased risk of breast cancer, especially for women with a family history of this disease. Accordingly, taking these supplements is not recommended for breast cancer prevention.

The use of soy- or isoflavone-based nutritional supplements is discouraged after a breast cancer diagnosis, during or after treatments and has no proven benefit.

Keep in mind: In general, you should always check with your healthcare team

before taking a nutritional supplement.