In this post, we’ll discuss what is daidzein, some of the latest research related to daidzein and health, list daidzein-rich foods, and rank foods based on their density of daidzein.
The research linking phytochemicals – the myriad chemicals found in the fruits and vegetables we eat – to health is growing rapidly.
Phytoestrogens, including daidzein and genistein, are present largely in soy and other beans and nuts, and are being studied for their potential links to anticancer properties.
And while health organizations don’t yet provide any statements regarding the health effects of daidzein or provide a recommended dietary intake value, many individuals are looking for daidzein-rich foods to add to their diets to improve their health.
Daidzen is a polyphenol found in relatively larger concentrations in certain plants. Soy is particularly high in daidzein.
Polyphenols are a class of compounds with a particular chemical structure that have begun to accumulate research expounding their potential virtues towards good health.
Daidzein is also categorized as a phytoestrogen, similar to genistein.
This class of compounds has been identified in epidemiological studies as a potential dietary anticancer compound. In particular, these compounds have been studied for their potential role in lowering risk of prostate cancer.
However, these compounds are also speculated to help reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer, too.
The biochemical mechanism through which they do this is not yet clear. However, in vitro studies are shedding light on potential pathways.
Cell signaling pathways associated with ovarian cancer cell migration, invasion, and cell death are modulated by daidzein and genistein.
And epigenetic DNA-methylation appears to be modulated by these compounds with respect to prostate cancer cell growth.
Daidzein is metabolized by the gut microflora into a metabolite called equol. It is believed that equol Is responsible for much of the biological activity of daidzein. For example, in addition to a possible reduction in skin cancer risk, equol may be responsible for improved bone-strength in post-menopausal women.
Interestingly, only about one-third of the population has the gut bacteria necessary to metabolize significant quantities of equol from daidzein. The exact bacteria required to do this, however, remains a mystery.
Daidzein rich foods are primarily vegetables. However, some fruits also contain daidzein, too.
Using the USDA Food Database, we compiled data from all the fruits and vegetables that contain information on polyphenol concentration.
It is likely that the USDA Food Database does not yet contain complete information about polyphenol concentrations in all the foods that we eat. Therefore, we will strive to update information as it becomes available.
Nevertheless, we scoured the entire database to find and rank all the foods by daidzein content and density.
Daidzein density is shown in the plot as the area in orange and is calculated as the amount of daidzein per calorie.
The daidzein content is shown in the chart as blue bars and represents the amount of daidzein in mg per weight (mg/100g).
See the rankings of daidzein rich foods below, and use the interactive graph, here!
Vegetables, typically beans and nuts, contain most of the daidzein-dense foods on our list.
Four of the most daidzein rich foods were beans, and four were seeds or nuts. In total, 10 of the 12 daidzein rich foods were vegetables.
See our ranking of 191 of the healthiest vegetables!
Only 2 of the top 12 daidzein-containing foods from the USDA Food Database were fruits. White grapefruit and passion-fruit.
Daidzein is fast becoming an exciting nutritional compound with promise for reducing the risks of developing certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that their present in healthy fruits and vegetables full of other positive nutritional components that should already be a part of your diet!