The bean used to make tofu could also have powerful anti-cancer properties, according to a new study published in the journal Food Research International.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville found that peptides from soybean meal -- the leftover product after oil is taken out of soybean seeds -- are able to stop the growth of colon cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer cells in a lab setting.
"Dose response showed that the peptides had significant inhibitory effect at higher concentrations … and gradually decreased with decreased dosage," the researchers wrote in the study, meaning that the higher the dose of the soybean seed peptides, the greater the effect on the cancer cells.
Researchers specifically reported that the peptides stopped colon cancer cell growth by 73 percent and liver cancer cell growth by 70 percent. And lung cancer cell growth was stopped by 68 percent.
Another natural compound that could potentially stop the growth of cancer? The red grape compound resveratrol, which was shown in a lab setting to stop breast cancer cell growth because of its effect on estrogen.
And a compound in broccoli, called sulforaphane, seems to kill leukemia cells in a lab setting without having any detrimental effects on healthy cells.