November 03, 2022
241: The Truth About Soy | Debunking the Myths with Dr. Rizwan Bukhari

If you want to lower your risk of breast cancer or learn more about soy and its impact on your health, this episode is for you! Dr. Rizwan Bukhari dispels myths about soy and estrogen in it. Stay tuned in and follow for more ...

If you want to lower your risk of breast cancer or learn more about soy and its impact on your health, this episode is for you! Dr. Rizwan Bukhari dispels myths about soy and estrogen in it. Stay tuned in and follow for more expert health and lifestyle advice!

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What are the common soy myths?
  • Soy's health benefits for women
  • How should you consume soy

Sign up for our newsletter to get a FREE copy of Dr. Riz's Guide to Preventing Cardiovascular Disease Through Lifestyle Improvements by clicking the link:

Other episodes you'll enjoy. 

About Dr. Rizwan Bukhari 

Rizwan H. Bukhari, M.D., F.A.C.S., known to his patients as Dr. Riz, is a vascular surgeon in the Dallas area and has been in practice for over twenty years. He is the North Texas Vascular Center owner, where he offers diagnostic services and minimally invasive outpatient procedures largely related to amputation prevention and limb salvage.

His primary hospital is Baylor Sunnyvale, where he was formerly the Chief of Surgery. Currently, Dr. Bukhari serves on their Board of Directors and Board of Trustees and is the Chief of Staff of the hospital.

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[00:00:00] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: A lot of these studies are looking at Asian women and Asian cultures because there is a lot of soy consumed in those cultures. I can tell you that the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association both say that soy is safe to consume for women in all stages of life.

[00:00:16] Maya Acosta: You have more power over your health than what you've been told. This is the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions Podcast. I'm Maya Acosta and I'm passionate about finding healthy lifestyle solutions to support optimal human health. If you're willing to go with me, together, we can discover how simple lifestyle choices can help improve our quality of life. And increase longevity in a big way.

[00:00:41] Maya Acosta: Let's get started. Dr. Rizwan Bukhari is a vascular surgeon who has been in practice for over 25 years. He specializes in the treatment of blood vessels and is particularly passionate about limb salvage work and preventing amputations. He has also adopted a nutrition focus approach to treating his patients. Which led him to learn more about soy.

[00:01:05] Maya Acosta: As part of our breast cancer awareness conversations, I asked Dr. Riz to speak about common soy myths. He will explain phytoestrogens, how our bodies use phytoestrogens and what the data says about the use of soy products throughout a woman's life. As always, you can find the full bio and details of our conversation at the website,

[00:01:30] Maya Acosta: Let's meet Dr. Riz. Welcome back to another episode of the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast. I'm your host, Maya Acosta. Today I have a special guest. He actually started the podcast with me, so if you go all the way back to episode number one, you'll see Dr. Rizwan Bukhari was my co-host. So welcome Dr. Riz.

[00:01:51] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, thank you very much. It's uh, nice to be on the show. 

[00:01:54] Maya Acosta: Again, thank you for making this happen because I think it's probably been over a year since you've been on the show. I don't remember. Yes, definitely. We are at a probably episode 234 or something like that, and for my listeners, we are in the same room in my home studio, and this is the first time that we record together this way with the setup.

[00:02:13] Maya Acosta: So, you know, there might be a little bit of technical problems in terms of adjusting the volume, but I will say that we've come a long way compared to the first episode.

[00:02:22] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Absolutely. I remember the first episode was recorded in a hotel room with a single mic, I think. 

[00:02:27] Maya Acosta: No, we did two mics, but there was something wrong with the record.

[00:02:31] Maya Acosta: And so when you listen to it, you can hear me say on the right ear and listen to you. It's the left ear or something like that. Oh, oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So I just watched it recently because I'm putting together a video for the listeners and for anybody who wants to view it on YouTube. I'm putting together four years of content.

[00:02:50] Maya Acosta: I'm not putting everything, not 230 episodes, but I'm going to highlight some things and I thought, well, this is actually really cool. You're joining me right now to address Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and you're joining me at the same time that I'm celebrating four years of doing this. So good timing.

[00:03:06] Maya Acosta: Yep. Alright. So before we talk about breast cancer, and it is, this episode is airing in November, we had difficulties, plus we were traveling a lot, but I thought the topic. Breast cancer should be a year-round topic. And also the concerns that people have around soy, I thought we could also talk about. But before we do all that, I thought I may have listeners that are not familiar with you because I've been doing a lot more since the last time you joined me.

[00:03:33] Maya Acosta: So let's start with who you are. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been in practice? Where are you in practice, and what does a vascular surgeon do?

[00:03:43] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Okay. Alright. Uh, so for those of you who don't know me, uh, my name is Rizwan Bukhari. I'm a vascular surgeon and I practice in the Dallas area, uh, in Texas. And I've been in practice for pretty much 25 years now. I started in 1998, so, you know, 24 years. Um, I've been a surgeon since 1991, uh, when I started my training. But, uh, I did general surgery and then I specialized in vascular surgery and I started my vascular surgery practice in 1998. So, uh, what else can I tell you?

[00:04:13] Maya Acosta: Thank you for sharing about that. So, can you tell us what a vascular surgeon is? Because we have even friends today that still call you cardiologists. They believe you're a cardiologist. So I thought we could talk about, you know, what is a vascular surgeon? The average person may not have a vascular surgeon that they have to go to, but everybody knows about heart diseases.

[00:04:38] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. I mean, I guess I can understand, uh, that it's not a well-known specialty. There's, uh, not a lot of vascular surgeons out there. I think there's probably a little over 3000 board-certified vascular surgeons in the entire country. Wow. Um, and it is fairly highly specialized. We very specifically work on the blood vessels of the body.

[00:04:55] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And, uh, it's an evolving specialty, uh, early on. And it, when it was first starting and wasn't highly recognized, it was just a surgical specialty. Mm. And so people would, uh, clean out blood vessels or do bypasses on blood vessels. And it has evolved throughout the years, and especially in the last couple of decades, uh, has become, uh, a specialty where, uh, it's the surgical treatment of blood vessel disorders.

[00:05:18] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: It's also the minimally invasive treatment of blood vessel disorders. So using stents or balloon angioplasties or other, other modalities to clean out blood vessels. And then it's also, uh, the medical therapy or medical treatment for, uh, blood vessels. And I'll, you know, to be very specific, um, I treat all of the blood vessels in the body, or a vascular surgeon treats all of the blood vessels in the body except for.

[00:05:42] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: in the heart, uh, and in the brain, but it's still the same disease process. When we talk about heart disease or we call, or we talk about atherosclerosis, uh, we're talking about, uh, plaque buildup in the arteries. Now granted, there are some other areas in the specialties that treat other kind of things.

[00:05:58] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. or diseases related to blood vessels. But when we're talking about that, you know, uh, the majority of the disease that we. Both as cardiologists, uh, and as vascular surgeons, uh, is atherosclerosis, which is built up a plaque inside arteries, uh, or causing blockages. And then the, uh, the bad effects of those blockages.

[00:06:16] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And then also I'll add that there's also someone called the cardiac surgeon or heart surgeon who does the heart bypass operations on the heart. I kind of do, if you think about what a cardiologist and a heart surgeon do for the heart, I do both roles for the blood vessels in the body. I'm both the medical doctor, uh, and doing minimally invasive therapies. And I'm also the surgeon who does the bypasses and clean out and things like that. 

[00:06:38] Maya Acosta: Wow, that's pretty cool. I'm familiar with a lot of what you do because I hear the stories and I've often said, Oh, if you could only share that story here, um, on the podcast so that people can get a better idea of what you do.

[00:06:52] Maya Acosta: So you are, I think, uh, we both have said it. You're like the plumber in the body. You go in and you clear the, you remove plaque in certain problematic areas. Maybe some, some areas that are, uh, where the blockages exist. But you not only work and treat, you know, atherosclerosis, but then you also help individuals who have accidents or having some sort of emergency. So it's not always related to lifestyle in the sense of what they eat or lack of exercise, but if someone, Um, an accident somewhere. You treat that.

[00:07:24] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. I mean, so you can think in a very simplistic term, uh, and I joke with my patients, I'm gonna go clean out your artery, but it's not as simple as that. I mean, of course, it's much more complex, but, uh, in a very simplistic manner, uh, the blood vessels of the body are the pipes or the tubes that carry blood, both from the heart and to all the areas of the body.

[00:07:43] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And then back from those areas of the body back to the heart. And the heart itself, in, again, in a very simplistic manner, is the pump that is functioning, that creates the circulation throughout the tubes of the body. So that is a pretty straight, you know, simplistic way of looking at it. Uh, and then, yeah, I mean the eye treat, uh, both the chronic illnesses that we treat today, uh, of the arteries, but then also of course I treat, uh, the acute injuries.

[00:08:05] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: If someone has a car accident and injures an artery or a gunshot wound to an artery or, you know, or a stab wound, uh, you know, so I have stories about all of those things that I probably shared with you at some point or another. So yeah, there's, uh, both acute injuries to arteries and then there's the other, uh, kind of traditional chronic. Right stuff.

[00:08:20] Maya Acosta: Yeah. I remember there was one story that you shared about a young man who was our carpenter. Uh, he was working on location and he accidentally nailed, I think, put a nail the palm of his hand. I don't remember what area. Yeah, can you tell us about that? 

[00:08:35] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, it was close. It wasn't the palm, it was his wrist and he had, uh, injured his radial artery. It's the one that we all know and we feel the pulse in the wrist. He had injured the radial artery and I. Uh, deal with that.

[00:08:46] Maya Acosta: So what did you do, just so that my listeners can have an idea of your specialty? Like, did you just sow the, did you repair the hand? Was he able to get full use of it or what happened?

[00:08:57] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, I, you know, so I actually, when I went into an explored, I also had to assess whether he had, uh, not just injury to the re but also the re uh, and the vein, and then also, uh, neurologic assessment of his function as well. Oh, okay. Uh, because a lot of times the arteries, nerves and veins all travel together and, you know, so there are different ways to treat a radial artery injury.

[00:09:18] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Uh, sometimes you go in and you can just tie off the artery, uh, and stop the bleeding if necessary. Sometimes you have to go in and repair it. A lot depends on what that repair will do to the function of the hand as far as its blood supply. Wow. In that particular case, I was able to repair the artery, uh, instead of having to tie it off.

[00:09:37] Maya Acosta: Wow. This is incredible. And also, just one other thing about what you do is you work very hard in saving limbs, especially for people who are diabetic or start to, you know mm-hmm. to have blockages in their leg. Tell us a little bit about that, because I know that's important to you. We've had this conversation before that once a patient loses a leg quality of life drops even more because now they're probably wheelchair-bound. 

[00:10:02] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah, very much so. A loss of a limb is a tremendous impact on a person's, uh, lifestyle, on their psyche. Uh, it affects, uh, so much of, uh, you know, a person's life and it's pretty much a downward trajectory on most people's lives when that occurs.

[00:10:16] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. . Um, but, uh, you know, I do a lot of leg work. I joke, there's a joke that I'm a leg man, and, uh, so the vascular involves all the blood vessels in the body. So, uh, my training involves treating carotid arteries. To both, uh, treat strokes and pro try to prevent strokes. I also treat the aortic, uh, the aorta.

[00:10:36] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Um, e whether it's blockages or aneurysms of the aorta. I also, it's, uh, treat the lower extremity or leg arteries. And my practice has, uh, I also do a lot of dialysis work where I create the shunts and the fistulas and in order for people to have dialysis. So those are kind of the major things that, that I do.

[00:10:54] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: But over the years, I have subspecialized within my specialty to where the vast majority of the work I do is what's called limb salvage work. Mm-hmm. . Uh, and so I deal. The vast majority of the time with people who have problems with a circulation of their legs and very often circulation issues, which are so advanced that their limb is at risk.

[00:11:15] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so the, my practice is what's called a limb salvage practice. I'm in the business of amputation prevention. Mm-hmm. . Yes. Yeah. And so diabetics to further. Elaborate on that. Diabetics are particularly at risk because diabetics develop, you know, issues with wounds all the time as secondary to the nature of their diabetes.

[00:11:34] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: But if you add on top of diabetes, you add blockages in the arteries. We're talking about a very, very serious situation here. So diabetics are at particularly high risk for amputations, and they are the subset of the population that has the most amputations.

[00:11:48] Maya Acosta: Yeah. And it's so hard to know that, you know, you have worked with my mother and I often talk about my mom on the show and how important it is for her to have this lifestyle, the plant-based lifestyle, so that she could, you know, not lose a limb because she had, you know, significant blockages on one of her.

[00:12:06] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: In fact, treating my patients was one of the main reasons I got into nutrition, uh, as a modality to assess and treat my patients. Mm-hmm. , uh, more in addition to me fixing their advanced problems. Mm-hmm. , I began to understand how much nutrition, uh, impacted our health. And, uh, over the years I started to look at the scientific evidence and the best practices, uh, and evidence-based medicine and began to realize that our nutrition has such a, a tremendous impact on these diseases and risk factors that I treat.

[00:12:37] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Most of my patients are diabetic and have high blood pressure. They have high cholesterol, they have high fats, and all of these things are directly impacted by our dietary choices. And so I have adopted the approach of using the science behind nutrition and evidence-based nutrition in order to help my patients make better choices.

[00:12:57] Maya Acosta: They're so lucky that you have that knowledge. You know, I was recently speaking with Dr. Zahra Kassam and I was, um, she's in Canada, the episode right before this one. And I said to her that every time a physician joins this lifestyle, I feel like a star lights up in the sky. And that's because you're giving us more tools so that we can take control of our own health.

[00:13:19] Maya Acosta: And that's what we'll be talking about today. Well, we're gonna talk about nutrition, more specifically soy, and how it's beneficial. We'll address some of the myths because, you know, many people are afraid of soy, not just women. Men are also told that they can grow man boobs. That's some of the things that we hear.

[00:13:34] Maya Acosta: So, should we get started on the topic? Sure. Absolutely. So I thought I would do like these, uh, rapid-fire questions and you can do yes or no. And just to kind of get started, because you know, I'm assuming that a lot of people may have these kind of questions about soy. You can answer yes or no, but uh,

[00:13:51] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And that's it or can I talk some more?

[00:13:53] Maya Acosta: We're gonna elaborate. Okay. But feel free to say more if you want. Just a couple of questions. So soy products, more specifically tofu, but just soy products increase estrogen levels. True or false? That is false. I already said this one. But soy products increase or can actually contribute to men growing boobs.

[00:14:14] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: That is false. Yes. 

[00:14:16] Maya Acosta: Soy products are excellent for women going through. That is true. Okay. And let's see, what other things, I can't think of any others, I actually didn't prepare for those, but no, this is a great way to get started. So as I was saying, we just completed the conversation in October for the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month.

[00:14:36] Maya Acosta: And the reason that I wanted you to talk about soy is you've addressed it before when we've done the Walk with the Doc. And I know for another summit you spoke about soy. And actually, I guess if you wanted to talk about your general experience as a general surgeon, you know if you've had experience seeing breast cancer patients or anything like that. If you'd like to share that first before we start.

[00:14:59] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Sure. Yeah. So, you know, I do have some opinions and knowledge and information on soy, and actually, my opinions are based on science, so it's not, I don't think their opinions, I think they are recommendations. Mm-hmm. , and because I focus a lot on nutrition in our health, obviously soy is going to come up as a part of that, and I have learned a lot about it.

[00:15:18] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so I do have recommendations about soya and I think probably a better understanding of soy than most physicians do, So I feel like I can make some very good recommendations. My experience with breast disease, and in particular breast cancer is related to my experience as a surgeon and I did, uh, five years of general surgery training.

[00:15:38] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Uh, one of the areas of focus is breast cancer and breast surgery. So I do have a fair amount of, uh, training in that area. Now, I did not continue that training, or I did not continue that practice as I developed into vascular surgeon. I continued in, focused on vascular surgery and gave up breast surgery. Uh, and so I don't do that currently, but I do. Uh, some background in breast surgery. 

[00:16:00] Maya Acosta: Yeah. Well, I think this is great, and you gave a talk and that you and I sort of debated on the approach that we should take. Should you just redo the talk and record it or should we have a conversation? And I thought it'd be great to have this conversation so that we can share it on social media and on the podcast and on the YouTube video and all of that.

[00:16:17] Maya Acosta: But let's start with some of the fears, I guess. And I did, I do have some notes here, um, just because there's so much to talk about, but I thought we could start with probably addressing some of the myths that, like what I said earlier, why are people afraid of soy? What do we know about soy in terms of the benefits and how can we encourage people to feel like it's okay to eat soy

[00:16:43] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, I think that. You know, just to add, it's very root, the basic fears about soy come from this belief, uh, that people think that soy equals estrogen and therefore, uh, soy consumption, therefore, is equal to estrogen consumption. And then people may get the complications related to estrogen consumption that they're afraid of.

[00:17:06] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Things like breast cancer, breast cancer, recurrence, decreased fertility, early age of men are, and in men feminization. So those are the things that people are afraid of. From eating soy because they think soy equals estrogen. And so I think that the distinction that I like to really clarify is that soy does not equal estrogen.

[00:17:25] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: In fact, it's the exact opposite. And I think two reasons this misconception exists. Number one, the compound in soy that people are afraid of is something called a phyto estrogen. And just because it has that name estrogen in it, somehow people think, okay, because it's got that term in it, it must be an estrogen or have estrogen-like.

[00:17:46] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so soy has something called isoflavones, which are phytonutrients. And of course, all plant-based products have phytonutrients. And these are very, very healthy forests. And in particular, soy has these isoflavones, which are also in many other plant-based foods. And in particular, the isoflavones that people.

[00:18:04] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: We're talking about today is phytoestrogens. And the reason they're called phytoestrogens is because they have some, uh, similar basic, uh, structural components that look like estrogens, but then they have more to it. So they're a plant estrogen. And I'll address that more, uh, as to what its effects in the body are.

[00:18:22] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: But the other reason I think that people. Soy is because early on in some of the research that was being done on soy, there was uh, some papers in particular by one particular author that talked about the estrogens or phyto estrogens in soy, and they made a leap of faith. Saying that those phyto estrogens were equivalent to estrogens.

[00:18:45] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And then that kind of got hold, uh, in the popular culture. And so everyone was walking around saying, Don't eat soy because it has estrogen in it. Mm-hmm. . And that caught some, it caught interest and I think, uh, it got some momentum, I guess is the way to put it. And so it, it was something that has kind of stuck in our popular culture for many decades.

[00:19:05] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And this research has subsequently been de. And, but just because something's debunked, the original idea may not have faded away. And so that still exists out there. Now what I will say is that there has been a tremendous amount of research done on soy. It's one of the most common plant-based products out there in many cultures and in for many reasons.

[00:19:26] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so it, it's not strange to understand that there's a lot of research done it. My understanding is that there's about 2000 papers, scientific papers annually on soy. And I used to say that there's over 40,000 papers on soy that exist out there, scientific papers, so mm-hmm. , you know, that's a lot of information.

[00:19:44] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so the more recent data, uh, and the preponderance of the data shows that soy, not only is soy not harmful to us, it's very highly likely that soy is beneficial. Uh, for us and we can talk about, you know, how it's beneficial to us.

[00:19:59] Maya Acosta: Sure. Well, thank you for sharing that. Two reasons why people are afraid of consuming soy. It's just really not understanding the mechanism, and you are going to go in detail about that, but phytoestrogen phyto, meaning that it comes, it's derived from the plant, correct? Mm-hmm. , Yes. So it's. Estrogen sort of or mimics estrogen. And then the other one is just, I'm sorry, were you gonna.

[00:20:23] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I wouldn't say it mimics estrogen. I would say it has some chemical and structural similarities to estrogen. 

[00:20:30] Maya Acosta: Okay, good. Thank you for correcting me. So that's one. And then the other one is just the media. I feel like the media intentionally targets soy as thinking that that's the main food that you and I as vegans. But I would say in the years that we have been vegan, we don't consume that much soy.

[00:20:47] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I think we probably consume a reasonable amount of soy, but you know, I don't know that the media is out to particularly demonize soy, but the media always loves things out to controversial things that'll stir stuff up, things that'll get people's attention. Yes. Uh, and certainly it does do that. And especially if, you know, uh, soy is out there and if the media says something like soy is bad for you, suddenly it gets a lot of people's attention and a lot of people will read those articles.

[00:21:10] Maya Acosta: Yeah. And when we start to move into discussing about the benefits of the isoflavones, the phytoestrogen found in tofu, I also, um, wanna address flax seeds. Mm-hmm. , because flax seeds are just as beneficial. And I didn't know until I started doing some reading why it makes sense that Dr. Michael Greger recommends flax seed as part of his Daily Dozen. Mm-hmm. , And it could be for this recent as well. I mean, Flax seeds have so many benefits, but I'm hoping that you can talk about that as well. Yeah.

[00:21:40] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. So, you know, Dr. Greger, when he had to come up with a few foods that would be, you know, super foods are the ones that you need to kind of focus on, on a daily basis. Uh, you know, it doesn't surprise me that he picked flax seeds just like he picked blueberries and, you know, it's just like, it is, in my opinion, a superfood and it has a lot of beneficial effects. Okay. So again, let's not forget to talk about that. So, uh, you know, let me talk about what soy does in the body at a biologic or molecular level and then, you know, what are the studies about soy, because I think those are two important things to really understand.

[00:22:10] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: If you wanna really grasp the fact that soy is not only not harmful for you, but that it's beneficial. Mm-hmm. . So, uh, uh, phytoestrogens I is what, when you, when you eat soy, that's what comes into the body is a phytoestrogen. And so we have two different. Estrogen receptors in the body. There's an estrogen, A receptor, and there is an estrogen B receptor.

[00:22:29] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And estrogen itself has a high affinity for the A receptor. The phytoestrogens that we get from soy actually have a fairly low affinity for the A receptor and a very high affinity for the B receptor. So then, what about these receptors and what do they do? So the A receptor, Okay, so I guess let's take a step back.

[00:22:47] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: What are receptors? Receptors are like keyholes or buttons. And so when something binds to them or it actually activates whatever that receptor's responsible for. So when something binds to the A receptor, the estrogen, A receptor in the body. Mm-hmm. , it actually has very strong pro-estrogen-like, uh, effects.

[00:23:06] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so that's why when high estrogen might turn on growth, uh, factors might turn on cancers. It turns estrogen things in feminization. So anything that's binding in a high levels to the A receptor causes those traditional estrogen-like effects that many people talk about. 

[00:23:23] Maya Acosta: Are you saying that this, and it's the alpha receptor?

[00:23:25] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: You know it's the alpha and the beta receptor or the A receptor and the B receptor. Okay. Yeah.

[00:23:30] Maya Acosta: Is that alpha receptor what receives our estrogen in our body?

[00:23:36] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. So estrogen binds strongly to the alpha or a receptor? Yes. Okay. And then now phytoestrogens bind multiple thousand fold higher affinity for the beta or B receptor. Okay. Now the beta or B receptor has relative anti-estrogen-like effects in the body.

[00:23:57] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: It actually kind of blocks the estrogen effects or turns off the estrogen effects. So you can see that a phytoestrogen doesn’t have the phytoestrogen effects because it doesn't bind strongly to the A receptor, and it has antiestrogen effects because it binds to the B receptor, which turns on the antiestrogen pathways. And so, therefore, it's thought to be protective in many respects against those estrogen-positive type of problems. Mm. Okay. And particular breast cancer feminization early menarche. Okay. And then in men, there's a thought that it can be protective against prostate cancer.

[00:24:30] Maya Acosta: Oh, wow. And the way that you're describing it, it almost sounds like if we have this A receptor and B receptor, that we should be consuming phytoestrogens. It sounds like If we're not, then it's just sitting there waiting.

[00:24:44] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: So, yes, I think we should be. Mm-hmm. and I make a personal recommendation that we should be consuming two to three servings of soy products a day. Okay. Uh, and so now let's kind of just use that as a segue into the literature. Okay. Again, like I said, there's a lot of literature out there.

[00:25:00] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: When I say literature, I mean scientific literature. I'm not talking about some article on Yahoo that just, you know, is talking about soy, but I'm talking about the scientific literature. And then there's a lot of, you know, and not all scientific literature is great, but there are lots of good peer-reviewed articles out there, and there's lots of great meta-analyses out there that have shown positive benefits of soy.

[00:25:21] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so, in particular, I like to. Women who get more soy and it's, you have to look at population studies and epidemiologic studies in order to get these results because it's very hard to design, uh, you know, randomized control trials and placebo trials to show any benefits cuz you have to do these for years and have tight controls.

[00:25:38] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: So these are both mostly based off of epidemiologic and population control studies, but the studies show that women who consume more soy as opposed to a no soy, and, and typically that means two or more servings a day, have a 30 % less risk of developing breast cancer over time. Now, a lot of these studies are looking, look at Asian women and Asian cultures because there is a lot of soy consumed in those cultures.

[00:26:00] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I can tell you that the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association both say that soy is safe to consume for women in all stages of life. And then there's also studies that show that soy consumption in women who have had breast cancer, those women who consume the highest levels of soy have about a 30% less risk of cancer recurrence and have a statistically significant less risk of all-cause mortality. Wow. As compared to women who do not consume soy, all cost mortality. 

[00:26:32] Maya Acosta: So you're saying that soy not only is protective against records of breast cancer, but it also protects our heart and other things. 

[00:26:42] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, you know, so when you say all-cause mortality, then there probably is some sort of general protective effect or some processes in the body that we will talk about this, but soy is, also helps lower cholesterol. And then we were gonna talk about, uh, there's also some thoughts that it decreases blood pressure. Mm-hmm. . Okay. So we're talking about scientific studies here that show that soy consumption is, decreases breast cancer incidents and is protective against recurrence of breast cancer in women who have had breast cancer.

[00:27:08] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: There's another study I like to talk about and that looked at the Irish East Asian cultures and looked at soy consumption in teen and pre-teen girls. And so girls who've consumed two or more servings of soy a day as compared to those who didn't throughout their preteen and teen years had a 30% less risk of developing breast cancer over the course of their lifetime.

[00:27:29] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Wow. So there's something about during those developmental years, When the breast tissue is being developed, that exposure to the soy, and most likely the phytoestrogens, reduces the risk of breast cancer over the course of a lifetime. That's incredible. Yeah. So I mean, what is happening when people develop cancer?

[00:27:44] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: We are actually all. Developing abnormal cells and cancers in our body all the time. And so it's up to our body then to defend and protect against those. It's, uh, to recognize them and weed them out. So we have an immune system and a defense system that's always fighting cancer. And so I think two things are happening when we consume soy.

[00:28:05] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Number one is we're consuming, uh, the phytoestrogens, which are protective against the development of the breast cancer tumors. But we're also people who consume more soy tend to, who are more plant-based or plant-forward in their nutrition, eat less of the harmful foods that promote cancer development.

[00:28:21] Maya Acosta: Okay. Yes. And as a matter of fact, Well, I'm glad you said that because I'm thinking as you were describing the studies that have been done with younger teen and preteen Asian girls, And their diet. I'm thinking about the standard American diet, the everyday diet that people eat when they're on the run, when they're very busy.

[00:28:41] Maya Acosta: A lot of people, and I talk, talk about this often, but a lot of people eat fast food. When are they gonna get soy in their diet? If they're constantly eating out? When you go to restaurants, soy, for example, tofu is not always an option in a restaurant. So what you're saying is we have to be very deliberate, not only understanding the science, that this is beneficial for us for women.

[00:29:02] Maya Acosta: And you know that on the podcast, I'd like to emphasize and support women in health. So when we're talking about health, we will have to be more intentional about bringing in tofu and edamame into our diet.

[00:29:13] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I agree completely. I think we have to be intentional about everything, about our diet. Mm-hmm. , in today's day and age, it's too easy to eat unhealthy way. And we do live in a very, very much a fast food culture. Uh, it's a lifestyle and a culture that's developed, and so it's just very common for all of us. Mm-hmm. , uh, to eat on the run and not pay attention to making great choices about our food choices because we're in always in a hurry and we haven't focused on food as we should.

[00:29:40] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Realizing how important it is to our overall health. Yeah. And I think we need to get back to that. So as a part of that, I think that, you know, we need to be intentional in our food choices and, and I, you know, so add soy to our, I I talk about, I think this is a good reason, a good way to talk about, you know, what are the things a woman can do to reduce that breast cancer risk.

[00:30:00] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I'm very, A proponent of trying to detect and treat breast cancer or in cancers in general. Mm-hmm. , you know, cancers are going to develop, our healthcare system is getting better and better at detecting and treating cancers in general. But what I also think we should focus on, and this is really where I is, wouldn't, and everybody rather not get cancer. So wouldn't it be more important than to try, if we know how to prevent it, shouldn't we also focus then on trying to prevent cancers from occurring and, and we can help people on both sides. Mm-hmm. . And so there are things that you can do to prevent breast cancer, and you've probably talked about this on some of your other episodes that you did.

[00:30:37] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. , uh, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. I don't think it hurts to talk about it again. And I'm a supporter of a physician's Committee for Responsible Medicines approach, and they talk about four things that you can do. Yes, we can expound upon them if we want. One, of course, is to choose plant-based foods or have a, a plant-centric diet because a plant-based diet is healthier for you.

[00:30:56] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: It, it's full of phytonutrients and antioxidants. It's got its high fiber, it's low fat, it's low cholesterol. All of those things are protective against cancer. Another thing is to exercise regularly. Third thing is to limit alcohol because we know that alcohol increases estro. Puts a woman at higher risk for breast cancer.

[00:31:13] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: But alcohol itself is also a cancer-causing agent. It causes multiple cancers, and it's also known to have, there's also known to be increased breast cancer with increasing alcohol intake. Yeah. And then the last thing is to maintain a healthy weight. We know that people who are obese are at higher risk for breast cancer.

[00:31:30] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Uh, my thought on that, and I think kind of the prevailing attitude on that is that people with more weight have higher adipose and fat tissue. And fat tissue is well known to produce estrogen, and therefore, people have higher estrogen exposure and, therefore, more breast cancer. Mm. So those are the kind of the four things that I support from the PCRM or Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

[00:31:50] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And then I also add Don't smoke, because there's just, it's just a no-brainer. Tobacco is very bad for us. It's not just bad for your lungs, it's not just bad for, uh, your heart and cardiovascular disease, but it causes multiple cancers.

[00:32:03] Maya Acosta: Mm. Yes. Thank you. I'd like those four tips, especially the one on just incorporating more whole plant-based foods.

[00:32:10] Maya Acosta: And I'm glad that you're clarifying some of these concerns. You know, It's such a shame that we have to keep talking about this, but since you've already given us the evidence behind that, you've given us some science and talked about studies that show that not only are Soy products not harmful, but they're beneficial for our health.

[00:32:28] Maya Acosta: I'm wondering also if we continue that this conversation by talking about the concern that people have about genetically modified soy. So that's one. And then the other one is the isolated soy protein, which believe it or not, I did not know what that was. And I remember someone asked us once about isolated soy protein, and I said, What's that? Where do you find it? Because I don't buy products that are isolated soy protein that would be found in processed food more than anything. 

[00:32:58] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Right, Right. So well-isolated soy protein by definition is a highly processed food. Yeah, yeah. So, you know, to kind of just adjust this person you're talking about, I think that the people who continue to avoid soy or afraid of soy, have heard something out there in the media, but haven't done their research because clearly, if you've done your research, you know that soy is not only not bad for you, but it's, it's better for you. The, again, what woman who has had breast cancer would not want to reduce her risk of breast cancer recurrence by 30% by doing something as simple as having two servings of soy a day.

[00:33:36] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. , that's not some, you know, it's not tamoxifen. It's not some estrogen blocker that you have to take, uh, that has other effects on your body. It's not some big anti-cancer chemotherapy treatment. Okay? Mm-hmm. , It's something as simple as eating edamame and a glass of soy milk or edamame and a serving of tofu every day, and you now have almost nearly have your risk of having recurrent breast cancer. Mm-hmm. , that's the data shows, the science shows, and so I just think that the people who say that have not, uh, researched it, then they're just basing it on some anecdotal story or just something they heard, and that's a shame.

[00:34:11] Maya Acosta: Right. Yeah. That's one. And then they're probably also think that when we're talking about soy, we're talking about highly processed soy products that are turned into burgers. So whatever that may be. And then of course, I would say, yeah, try to minimize even the vegan processed foods because they're still gonna have a lot of chemicals and additives that we don't wanna consume.

[00:34:30] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, and I wish that were the case. If that were the case, they would say, Yeah, I stay away from highly processed soy products. No, they just say, I don't eat soy. That's right. Soy can be in anything. Yeah. I think they're still afraid of it because Yeah, I mean, of course we advocate for the things that are closest to their natural state, you know? Mm-hmm. . In fact, when we talk about eating soy products, we talk about let's eat edamame, the soybean or tofu, which is minimally processed, or soy milk, which is minimally processed.

[00:34:54] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Okay. Or Tempe. Okay. So those are the kind of things that I recommend. I'm not talking about the highly processed soy foods. You know, if there's soy in an impossible burger, I don't think that's the best way to get your soy. Mm. Okay. Sorry, Impossible burger. You were also then genetically, I was mentioned in genetically, you mention, you mentioned GMOs.

[00:35:12] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Now, GMOs are something that I've considered. I don't know the right answer. I think that, uh, what I tend to tell people is that I avoid and don't recommend GMOs because we don't know what we don't know. I'm in favor of avoiding those at this point. Mm-hmm. , you know, in my evolution of thought, something that I think is very interesting is that there are people who don't make a distinction when they're eating, uh, meat.

[00:35:35] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: They're very anti-GMO and they'll say, I don't want any, uh, GMO products, but then they're eating meat. The vast majority of, uh, livestock out there today are fed GMO products, and so they don't even make that connection. That, uh, what they're eating is based on a genetically modified product. And so that's, you know, let alone the fact that they don't make the connection that the protein they're getting from their meat actually came from plants anyways, You know, there's a lot of disconnect out there, uh, in our world.

[00:36:03] Maya Acosta: Yeah. I'm glad you say that. Many times we say when you're going to purchase your soy, I say soy, but I'm really thinking tofu. But there's also organic version.

[00:36:13] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: So you also asked about, Soy protein isolate. And, uh, so as you know, um, not so much speaking to you as to our audience. Mm-hmm. , we advocate for a whole food, plant-based lifestyle, and that involves no processing or minimally processed foods.

[00:36:28] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: So we are not advocates for processed foods. And I'll give you an example of, uh, highly processed food. Oil, doesn't matter where you take it from, whether it's an olive or an avocado or corn oil is a highly processed food. You've stripped out all of the fiber, the phytonutrients and everything else, and all you're left with is an oil or the fat from that product.

[00:36:46] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. . So similarly, soy protein isolate is stripping everything from the soy or the soybean and only leaving the protein behind. You've taken out the fiber, you've taken out all of the other products, and all you're left with is a protein. And that's a, in my opinion, and I don't think it's, in everybody's opinion, that's a highly processed, uh, food. I'm not a big fan of approaching food from that standpoint.

[00:37:11] Maya Acosta: Right? So that topic has come up and that's why we're talking about it. It's come up as to, Well, what's wrong with that? It's not all that bad. And it wasn't until I had, It was sometime earlier this year, I guess, a guest came on to talk about soy as well and address the isolate and said that the process of removing.

[00:37:31] Maya Acosta: Extracting the protein, just like you describe, puts the protein, puts the product at a kind of carcinogenic, if I'm saying it right, state because of some things that form like hexing and I don't even know what that is. And one other thing, do you know what I'm talking about? 

[00:37:49] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I think those are products that are used in the processing of the soy in order to create soy protein isolate. And so it could be that there's contaminants left in it. Uh, and therefore, you know, that's why we talk about all these processed foods and preserve foods that you buy off the shelf. They have lots of. Chemicals in them and they have preservatives and they have things in them that you can't pronounce or you don't even know what they are.

[00:38:10] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. And so why would you wanna be putting those in your body? That's right. So again, I'm not trying to denigrate or denounce soy itself. I'm just talking about we don't promote eating a highly processed soy food. 

[00:38:20] Maya Acosta: Right. Well, let me say this one. I thought, because I thought it'd be interesting for people to know, uh, the process of extracting the soy protein, so just like Dr. Riz had already said, is what remains when you take soybeans and strip all the sugar, the fiber, and all the natural vitamins and minerals from them. What is left is the protein. So, The process of doing all of this is called Acid washing. Soybeans get soaked in acid or alcohol to remove the sugar and dietary fiber.

[00:38:49] Maya Acosta: Then what's left gets dehydrated, which ultimately makes a dry powder and it looks like an, I don't know, ole protein powder. I don't know what that is. The extraction process often leaves behind residue from chemicals and metals like hexa and aluminum, and it also contains phytates, also known as antinutrients, which reduce the body's ability to absorb iron and seeing so that doesn't sound too healthy. Right. And then I read that this is found in the Impossible burger. 

[00:39:18] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Well, you know, the Impossible Burger is, although it's plant-based and or vegan, it's a very highly processed product. It's certainly not a whole food product. 

[00:39:28] Maya Acosta: Yeah. Uh, the other thing that I read about the Isolate is that it causes a surge in insulin level. So the Mastering Diabetes team recommended that people stay away from the isolate if possible. And again, I didn't even know what it looked like. How do you buy it? Where is it found? But I guess just read the labels and see if it says Isolated soy protein, and then that's how, you know. But I guess, I mean, does Impossible Burger have that in its list of ingredients? I don't know. 

[00:39:57] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: No. I don't know either. Yeah, I think the place that I've looked, soy protein isolate is in milk, soy milk. And so you wanna make sure that you're buying a soy milk that's pretty much as natural as possible and doesn't have the soy protein isolate in it. Okay. As something that's being reconstituted or, you know, uh, other preservatives. Yeah. Okay. So I hope you, obviously the best thing to do is make your own, but then again, you know how many of us have time to make our own.

[00:40:19] Maya Acosta: That's right. I hope that we explained a little bit about the isolated soy protein for pe because I think that, Okay, so we know that about isolated soy protein. This is probably the information that's fed to the general public who's fearing soy.

[00:40:34] Maya Acosta: They're thinking that this is the soy that we're eating and what we're saying is no go to, you know, your local natural grocery store and find the one that comes kind of sitting in its liquid. That's. As close to whole as you can for really the Edamame is the best way to consume. And you know, I don't know if I ever told you Dr. Riz, but there was a time when a friend of mine and I would go to this restaurant and we would ask for the edamame before people started adding spices and all of that. Mm-hmm. , we did it first many, many years ago. We were like, Can you put some spice in that because we're Mexican and we would like it. And I was eating at edamame just like that.

[00:41:12] Maya Acosta: You know how you can eat one after the other, almost like chips and they're enjoyable to eat or you can, you know, buy them already frozen. Or in bags and put 'em, sprinkle them in over your salad or in a soup, or have the Tempe version which you Dr. Riz enjoy.

[00:41:29] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah, I think I can out eat you with the spicy edamame. That's, you know, I don't think we ever pass up an opportunity to order edamame if it's on the menu. Right. It's a good appetizer and we enjoy eating it. Mm-hmm. . Uh, and I certainly enjoyed the spicy edamame. It's a good way too not to have the salty edamame, which, you know, has a lot of, We try to avoid salt.

[00:41:45] Maya Acosta: That's right. Okay. Just a couple other things as we're moving along is, um, menopausal women. So is this good? So we've talked about like how young women, we know Asian women that consume soy probably through miso soup and tofu and things like that are protected throughout their lifetime. I know that you can't prevent.

[00:42:07] Maya Acosta: You can't use the word prevent, but we definitely can reduce our risk. Yeah, you can't eliminate Eliminate. Yes. So at a young age, I had another question. Can it help with menstrual cramps? That's, you know, for women that are in that age group and then can I help with menopause? Like reducing hot flashes?

[00:42:25] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. So there's some studies out there that show that phytoestrogen exposure does decrease, uh, the menopausal symptoms. Mm-hmm. in that particular, much like estrogen does. Mm-hmm. . So in this particular case, the phytoestrogens are activating pathways that reduce menopausal symptoms or discomfort. Okay.

[00:42:44] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: There's another study out there that shows that flax seed is beneficial to women in menopause and Okay. So that's a good reason to talk about flaxseed cuz we brought it up earlier. And, uh, so flax seeds are considered, in my opinion, are superfood. Mm-hmm. , they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely important to us in our health, but they also are high in lignans.

[00:43:05] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Lignans are another. Phytonutrient. Mm. Okay. And these lignans are converted in our intestinal tract into phytoestrogens. So flaxseeds themselves don't have phytoestrogens in them, but they have the precursors of phytoestrogens. Okay. And then the good bacteria in our gut, in our microbiome then convert those lignans into phytoestrogens.

[00:43:28] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Their potency is hundreds or thousands of times more than, uh, many other foods. So that's why flax seeds are kind of a superfood. And then these have beneficial effects. And my understanding is that they do decrease, uh, menopausal symptoms. Uh, the other thing I've read about is, uh, there's some studies that show that phytoestrogen exposure in plant foods decreases, uh, fibroids, uh, in.

[00:43:52] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Okay, so that's a a little known fact and not many people talk about it, but women with, uh, higher soy exposure and phytoestrogen exposure experience less problems with painful fibroids throughout the course of their lifetime. That's great news. That's particularly interesting to me because I often get referred women with painful fibroids and I have to go in and what's called embolize the artery that leads to the, to the fibroid in order to try to kill it.

[00:44:18] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: It's a less invasive, non-surgical way to treat fibroids. And I will be very honest with you that I haven't sent these women away on a plant food diet, uh, plant-based diet because it's been so few. Uh, and, uh, I think the reality is many of them adopt the therapy, uh, when they want treatment for it. But there is data to show that, uh, there is decreased fibroids or decreased painful fibroids on a plant-based diet.

[00:44:43] Maya Acosta: Mm. This is such great news because, again, it feels like the power is back. In our hands that if we know these things that we can help our health, you know, without relying on necessarily medication. Cuz for example, you know, I don't like to take painkillers and when I say painkillers I'm talking about aspirin or Advil.

[00:45:02] Maya Acosta: I don't even like to take that. But most of my life I struggled with painful cramps and acne and I'm thinking the estrogen was probably the contributing factor to those things. I don't know what other kind of mechanism could have been in place, but I know that I never really had any kind of serious issues like fibroids or anything like that, but, I transitioned to a whole food plant-based diet just before I started going into menopause.

[00:45:31] Maya Acosta: So it's a little hard to say how much improvement I've seen as a result, but I know that my acne cleared because you probably remember I suffered with acne, um, for many, many years. And so if, if women can. Help themselves by having, for example, less painful menstrual cramps or fibroids or even, I don't know if it helps with, um, painful breasts. Like if you have fibrocystic breasts, if it can help with, So it can help with that as well. I don't know.

[00:45:55] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah, no, I don't know the data on that. So again, Okay. Since I'm so data-driven, I won't comment. Yeah. Uh, one way or the other. Although I do know that, you know, fibrocystic disease of the breast is a hormonally driven problem. Yeah. And it's often worse during, uh, a, you know, related to a woman's menstrual site.

[00:46:10] Maya Acosta: Yes. Oh my goodness. I wish I had known all of this many, many years ago, but I must have known something cuz I stopped eating red meat and pork a long, long time ago. Okay. Just, I wanna make sure that we're not forget anything. But you mentioned flaxseed and I wanna kind of throw this story out there to see if you remember. I had a me, a doctor friend who lived in Austin, and I won't say his name just outta privacy, but when I stayed with him, I. Prepared some foods and was teaching him how to eat healthier. And in, during that time, I introduced him to flax seeds because my friend kind of was having some constipation issues.

[00:46:47] Maya Acosta: Mm-hmm. and me being the person, and this was many years ago, me being the person that likes to help people with the holistic approach, I prescribed him flax seeds and I actually got him some cereal and flax seeds with, to go along with that. Anyway, he was like, within one or two days he was like, It's a miracle.

[00:47:04] Maya Acosta: It's amazing. This stuff works. This is wonderful. He was thanking me and about a week later he comes back and he says, My friends told me I'm gonna grow man boobs. I, I'm not gonna take flax seed anymore. And I was thinking, Oh my God, this is what misinformation does. The average person that doesn't read the literature, cuz most of us get our news from television.

[00:47:29] Maya Acosta: It's amazing that, or other friends like him or other friends, and then this was a doctor. Mm-hmm. who could have done the research on his own and maybe even the literature is biased also against flax seeds. Just like maybe soy. I don't know.

[00:47:43] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I'll be real honest with you, I have never seen any literature that says that consumption or even high consumption of flax seeds causes, uh, feminization. I know. I've never seen that. So, and I think if that literature existed, people would be grasping onto that. 

[00:47:58] Maya Acosta: I know, it's just so disappointing. But, you know, anything that we say, we can always say, Hey, go to, you know, PCRMs website to obtain the studies related to this or, American College of Lifestyle Medicine puts out a lot of literature as well, or references that, so we'll always if you want to know what studies we're referring to, we can give you that information. Maybe in the future, I can start placing that information on the website so that people know that we're just not making this stuff up.

[00:48:25] Maya Acosta: Okay. Just a couple other things. I don't know if I'm forgetting anything else. There was some concern about thyroid and soy, and I was initially concerned as well because I have had hypothyroidism, but I think that if we have thyroid issues that, you know, people believe that maybe the tofu can interfere with our absorbing the iodine or something like that. So we're just encouraged to eat more nori sheets or something. 

[00:48:52] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. So there are studies that have studied, uh, thyroid function with increased soy intake, and they have shown that there is no negative impact on thyroid function from the consumption of soy.

[00:49:03] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: But there is one concern is that there is an iodine binding effect of soy that might reduce one's exposure. So in those situations, they do recommend that you just try to increase your iodine intake. Uh, and of course, we recommend doing that through, uh, seaweed consumption. Okay. Like nori sheets, for example.

[00:49:21] Maya Acosta: Awesome. Other health benefits can be associated in terms of consuming soy products is that they help to reduce inflammation and improve our cholesterol levels. And I was wondering if you wanted to talk a little bit about cancer feeds on cholesterol. 

[00:49:37] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. I guess, what are the other things I can think of right now? So let's talk about both soy and, and flaxseed. Uh, soy has been shown to reduce your cholesterol and it's also been shown to reduce your blood pressure. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , uh, and these are in studies as well. Mm-hmm. and then also the cholesterol part of the soy consumption can likely be beneficial in cancers.

[00:49:58] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Many cancers are, uh, like cholesterol. Mm-hmm. , they eat the cholesterol and they grow from cholesterol. Mm-hmm. . Uh, so if you reduce your cholesterol, you can starve a cancer. And then, uh, back to the lignans. In flaxseed, uh, flaxseed has been shown to be a very potent blood pressure-reducing solution as well.

[00:50:16] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Again, reducing your blood pressure by up to 10%. Mm-hmm. . So somebody who has a blood pressure of 150 can get their blood pressure down to 135 just by eating a tablespoon or two of ground flax seed on a daily basis. You don't have to take any medications. Mm-hmm. Uh, and just so this, think about somebody with a blood pressure running one 50 and you wanna get your blood pressure down to 125.

[00:50:37] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: You make some lifestyle changes, start exercising a little bit, eat some flax seeded, do a few other things, which I could tell you, and you might not have to be on medications. Hmm. Yes. Uh, you can just reduce your blood pressure through lifestyle changes.

[00:50:50] Maya Acosta: Yes. Oh my goodness. I just, I wish you guys would all go and buy the, Oh, you know, some of these books that we reference as well, because that is so true. I told my listeners about how my cholesterol went up during the pandemic. I started 2020 healthy. My mom and I had been at Dr. Barnard's immersion program in dc. We had our labs taken, our biometrics done right before the immersion program, and I was like, Of course, my cholesterol's fine. Of course, I know this.

[00:51:18] Maya Acosta: I've never had a problem. And then during the pandemic, I, the stress in just being fed up cost me to eat more process foods, vegan process. I never went back to eating animals and my cholesterol. , and I was horrified. Like I was so scared because I've never had a high cholesterol. And then I did a little challenge and started eliminating certain things and adding more greens.

[00:51:41] Maya Acosta: And even we learned about a supplement that has phytosterols, and if you wanna talk about that, to help reduce my cholesterol and it worked. Now I just have to make sure that I don't eat all that crap.

[00:51:53] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And I honestly don't even think you need the phytosterols. It's just that they show that the phytosterols compete with the binding sites and then, therefore, reduce your cholesterol absorption.

[00:52:03] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: And so, but I think that there's many just kind of standard things that you can do to reduce your cholesterol. And you did And we were measuring it regularly. Yes. And we just saw the cholesterol just being focused, I call it. Yeah. I call it being deliberate. Just being deliberate in your choices, your food choices and your cholesterol dropped very quickly.

[00:52:20] Maya Acosta: Yeah. Well, I'm really excited about having had you on the show again, because it's been too long. I know that I wanted to get you on before, earlier this year, cuz I thought I wanted you as my guest for episode 200. Mm-hmm. to Celebrate 200. Maybe you can come back When I celebrate 300.

[00:52:37] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: We better start planning now.

[00:52:39] Maya Acosta: We better record it today. No. For the next time. But the other thing too is that I just celebrated four years in the past year since I hired a team to help support me with a lot of the editing. I've put out a lot more content and I was thinking, what do you think will happen in the next four years? Will I still be doing this? Will there be four more years of this? I don't know.

[00:53:01] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I don't know either. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Stay tuned, everybody.

[00:53:04] Maya Acosta: Stay tuned, but well, thank you Dr. Riz for joining us. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners? And then I'm gonna make sure that I add your Instagram account because Dr. Riz's Instagram account, which is Dr. Riz, it's @dr_riz_bukhari. Anyway, I'll include that in the show notes. So he's had a lot of activity in his Instagram account and you can go check out the account and see how he's been advocating for healthier options. We recently did a protest at a hospital in Fort Worth where we basically, you know, stood in there and this was part of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

[00:53:47] Maya Acosta: We stayed, we were out there protesting the McDonald's, asking the hospital to do better for the patients because we know that when patients or anybody visits that hospital, the first thing that they'll see, Is the McDonald's. And when a hospital has McDonald's there, it's almost like they're saying, Hey, this is the kind of food we think you should eat. Yeah, we condone that. Yeah. Yeah. It was horrible. But lots of activity on your Instagram so people can learn about that. And you also have a guide, Dr. Riza's guide.

[00:54:15] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari:  To cardiovascular nutrition.

[00:54:16] Maya Acosta: Yes. So we're gonna put a link. So if you're interested in learning more about Dr. Riz and his recommendations for lifestyle medicine that can help you all around all the things that you can do to take care of your health, you can follow him or download the uh, PDF as well. But is there anything else that you'd like to share with us?

[00:54:33] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: I don't know if it's anything else, but just to kind of summarize, I'd like to talk about the big picture and, you know, we're talking today a lot about soy, uh, and breast cancer, you know, kind of very, some specifics, but what I like to tell people and help them understand is this lifestyle that we promote, you know, first off, kind of the, the healthy lifestyle, which includes, uh, plant-centric diet and avoiding toxic behaviors and getting sleep and developing relationships and working on your spirituality and, you know, so those things, that's kind of a lifestyle we breach, but in particular the whole food plant-based approach to life, to nutrition, which is very scientific and evidence-based.

[00:55:10] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Mm-hmm. is kind of a one solution fits all. Okay. You don't need to eat one particular diet for your heart, another particular diet for your breast, another particular diet for your prostate, another diet for your microbiome. What's very interesting to me, and it for me, it kind of tells, okay, this kind of must have been the way it was intended to be because it's one diet that provides for a tremendous overall health for the body. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And so I, I'd just like people to, to kind of grasp that concept. It's a whole food, plant-based centric lifestyle is the healthiest way to approach your life. 

[00:55:45] Maya Acosta: Yes, Thank you, Dr. Riz. Because I know that when my listeners hear directly from a vascular surgeon who treats advanced cases, you know. Diseases that people pretty much brought on themselves by making lifestyle choices, certain lifestyle choices. I know that when they hear it from you that they really get it, They can hear all day long for me. But I think it's important that they understand that the surgeon actually can, is telling his own patients that these lifestyle modifications, the lifestyle medicine pillars work, they help in, like you said, in preventing disease and hopefully preventing recurrence or even the diseases from advancing, hopefully preventing that as well.

[00:56:27] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: So, yeah, and you know, unfortunately, many times for my patients, it's very late in the process and uh, the lifestyle they've been leading for decades has led to a point where they can't avoid being on my operating room table and under my knife and, and the complications of that lifestyle when they're in their sixties and seventies and eighties.

[00:56:46] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: But what I'm hoping is that many of you out there who are younger than that and listening to this mm-hmm. , um, can adopt positive changes that can change the trajectory of your life and keep you from ever ending up on my table. And I think that's important. I will say though, uh, it's well known and scientifically proven, again, adopting a whole food, plant-based lifestyle at any stage in your life, results in a healthier life at any point. Yes. What I'm saying by that, Is, it's never too late. 

[00:57:14] Maya Acosta: Yes, absolutely. And I say all the time that, you know, I say this all the time, I wanna drive the message that people do not wanna end up as your patient. Yeah. Because by then it's usually too late. 

[00:57:25] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Yeah. If people only knew before they were my patient that they didn't wanna be my patient, they would do everything in the world to avoid being my patient. That's right. Okay. It's not unusual for me to ask a patient, if you knew how to prevent being where you are today. Mm-hmm. , if somebody told you there was a way to stop to not be here, if there's a change you could have made three decades or four decades ago, would you have done it? And they uniformly say yes.

[00:57:48] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Okay. Now the problem is once they've en encountered the complications of that lifestyle, then they're like, they go back and say, Yes I would. I wish I would've changed. Mm-hmm. . But what I want is for people to make that change before they encounter those complications. That's right. Wow. I am, for a long time, I was the only one that I knew of and it surprised the heck out of me.

[00:58:08] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Because all of my colleagues who see what this lifestyle produces should say, Okay, now I need to be plant-based and I need to teach that because look what that the other lifestyle teaches or becomes. But yeah, now I've heard of a couple of others. Couple have seen my social media have reached out and contacted me.

[00:58:27] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: They're not terribly active in kind of the way we are. Mm-hmm. . But they've reached out and said, Hey look, well I'm plant-based two, I wanna stay in touch. So I have, yeah. Uh, so, but three across the country is still way too few.

[00:58:39] Maya Acosta: You need to create a Whatsapp group. . Yeah. It'll be a small group right now. Maybe we'll have a panel discussion all three of you guys, so it'll be a lot of fun and talk about like what you see.

[00:58:48] Maya Acosta: But yeah, it's interesting when a doctor gets on board with the stuff, they don't always necessarily dive in right away because they have to learn all the information we had to learn too. And then maybe they'll do, you know, they'll give lectures and things like that. But this is pretty cool. I didn't know that.

[00:59:01] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: You know, I think one of the frustrations I. I can give you the perspective as a physician is one of the perspectives that many physicians take, mm-hmm. , is that they don't think their patients will make the change. And I can understand, but let me just say then, If I was the patient mm-hmm. , I would say, Please at least give me the information.

[00:59:20] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: So don't share the information just because you don't think I'll listen. Yeah. So our goal, or my goal is to, even if you know, it's just to continuously present the information, the scientifically based, evidence-based medicine information to my patients, and hopefully, it'll plan a seat, and they'll make a change.

[00:59:37] Maya Acosta: Do you remember when I, and I've shared this too, but do you remember when we stayed in someone's house in California as part of that couch surfing program? And they have to approve, It's an organization that allows you to stay free of charge at other people's homes and everyone has to verified and you know, it's a legit thing.

[00:59:56] Maya Acosta: But we haven't done it in many years and we used to host people here in Dallas and then we finally decided, hey, let's see what it's like to be hosted. And so we applied to stay with this one couple and they said, Yes, everything's fine. We'd love to have you. But however, We do not eat animal products, please do not cook those in our home.

[01:00:16] Maya Acosta: And then we stayed with them, got to know them. It was great, but they never once told us that they were vegan. Mm-hmm. , plant-based. And that was years before you and I got on board. And I often reflect on that because if they had just sat down and talked to us, like if they have spoken to us about the health benefits or whatever they wanted to share, then that seed would've been planted, but they didn't share it.

[01:00:39] Maya Acosta: And I don't wanna miss those opportunities when I'm interacting with other people that I could help save someone's life or that I can help improve someone's quality of life just by sharing them, sharing the information when they're willing to listen. You know, not forcing it. But yeah, that's what I think.

[01:00:55] Maya Acosta: I don't ever. Be in that position where I failed to share the information out of fear. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So we're gonna continue the discussion during dinner, cause we are getting ready to cook. Dr. Riz, thank you once again for coming on the show. I can't wait to see what the listeners say about this episode, and hopefully, we'll catch you in the near future again.

[01:01:14] Dr. Rizwan Bukhari: Okay. Thank you. See you on number 300. 

[01:01:15] Maya Acosta: Dr. Rizwan Bukhari is a vascular surgeon with over 25 years of experience. He's highly specialized in the surgical treatment of blood vessel disorders. In the minimally invasive treatment of blood vessel disorders. Dr. Riz treats acute injuries to arteries and atherosclerosis-related chronic illnesses.

[01:01:34] Maya Acosta: Dr. Bukhari is passionate about saving limbs and preventing amputations in his patients. He often says that you should do everything in your power to not end up like his patients. Many of his patients lose their quality of life once they have advanced diseases. He still advises his patients to adopt healthy lifestyle changes such as those associated with the pillars of lifestyle medicine.

[01:01:56] Maya Acosta: He is also a strong advocate for using nutrition to treat various diseases and to reduce cancer and chronic disease risk factors. Today's topic, soy is controversial, and Dr. Bukhari debunks some of its common myths. Here are a few things to remember regarding soy and estrogen levels. First, soy contains phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogens.

[01:02:22] Maya Acosta: These estrogens are much weaker than the estrogens produced by the body and can help block the body's estrogen. And can help block the body's estrogen from binding to receptors. Second, soy can be beneficial for women throughout their lives. Studies show that consuming soy early in life can significantly reduce a woman's risk of breast cancer.

[01:02:42] Maya Acosta: Soy can help alleviate some symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Dr. Bukhari recommends soy as a healthy part of a plant-based diet. Soy can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer, soy products, and help to lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease, always consume minimally processed soy products such as organic tofu, edamame, and Tempe.

[01:03:09] Maya Acosta: They are a great source of protein and can be a healthy alternative to meat. Also, I'm gonna put a link down below if you'd like to learn more about how you can prevent cardiovascular disease. Dr. Rizwan Bukhari also has a guide that you might be interested in, so make sure that you click on that link below.

[01:03:27] Maya Acosta: I'd love to hear about your experience with soy. Have you reduced your hot flashes by consuming soy? Tell us about a favorite meal that incorporates soy food. You can now leave me a voicemail at I hope that you enjoy this episode, and as always, thank you for being a listener. You've been listening to the Healthy Lifestyle Solutions podcast with your host, Maya Acosta.

[01:03:54] Maya Acosta: If you've enjoyed this podcast, do us a favor and share with one friend who can benefit from this episode. Feel free to leave us an honest review on Apple Podcast that helps us to spread our message. Thanks for listening.