Soy has been the diet alternative for those who simply want to lessen their meat intake. But aside from helping people keep in shape, soy may also help reduce cancer risk and even increase the chances of survival in female cancer patients, NBCNews.com reports.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Shanghai Cancer Institute, and the National Cancer Institute worked with data from a previous study involving Chinese women. Records of 444 women diagnosed with cancer were examined. Participants were interviewed about their diet and lifestyle at the beginning of the study and two years after.

Within three years of the follow-up, 318 of the 444 patients died of lung cancer, but those who regularly ate soy were found to be 11 percent less likely to succumb to the disease.

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Interestingly, 80 percent of Asian women who have developed lung cancer were non-smokers. The disease may then be caused by "inherited susceptibility," but this has yet to be proven.

(Photo by Puck Goodfellow via Flickr Creative Commons)

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