Soy is just as controversial as eggs when it comes to the discussion about it. Some people think soy causes breast cancer and makes men more feminine, while others think it is the best plant-based source of protein. Soy is safe to eat. With the rise of plant-based diets, soy can be a good source of protein for people who want to eat less meat. Soy is a protein source high in nutrients and can be eaten safely several times a week and probably more often. It is likely to be good for your health, especially if you eat it instead of red or processed meat.
Soybeans have become very popular because they can be turned into a wide range of products like soy milk, tempeh, tofu, and other dairy and meat substitutes. Soy protein powder is another thing that can be made from soybeans. These soy products are the main source of protein for vegans, vegetarians, and people who are allergic to or choose not to eat dairy products. Even so, there are a lot of disagreements about soy.
Is Soy Bad for you?
Soy protein isolates may have more soy isoflavones. Soy isoflavones are organic compounds that can also be considered endocrine disruptors in high amounts. Higher levels of soy may cause hormone levels to be out of whack, which can raise the risk of cancer.
Soybeans are often used to separate soy proteins that are then used to make protein shake powder. This process changes the soy, making it more likely to raise your insulin level, and Soy protein isolate might make you more likely to get cancer.
Allergies. Some people are allergic to soy. Signs of a soy allergy include:
- Body rash
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
Get help right away if you are having trouble breathing. If you have any of these signs, you should stop eating soy and talk to your doctor about what’s happening. You may lose your allergy to soy over time, so try eating it again after a few months or years have passed.
Medicine for the thyroid. Hypothyroidism medicines based on hormones might not work well if you eat soy. One study found that hypothyroidism is higher for people who eat more soy. But the same study showed that the risk of insulin resistance, inflammation, and high blood pressure was lower.
Soy and Breast Cancer Risk
Early studies on animals showed that eating soy raised the risk of breast cancer, mostly because of the isoflavones in soy. But this has been looked into many times, and the general conclusion is that eating soy protein does not make you more likely to get breast cancer. Some evidence suggests that soy intake protects against developing breast cancer. Still, more evidence points to the idea that this might only be true if soy is eaten in early adolescence when breast tissue development happens.
People who didn’t eat a lot of soy as kids don’t have to be doomed. Cancer Treatment and Research Communications looked at Chinese people diagnosed with breast cancer who started eating more soy soon after. They found that eating more soy was linked to a lower risk of dying from breast cancer. People before menopause, those taking tamoxifen (a drug used to treat breast cancer), and people with triple-negative cancer were more likely to have a lower risk.
Soy and Fertility
Some older studies showed that soy could add about one day to the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which could affect ovulation. But it hasn’t been shown that this affects the ability to have children.
Soy has a lot of good nutrients for your body, in addition to isoflavone. Soy protein has nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own. Some, but not all, amino acids can be found in other proteins. Soy is a complete protein because it has nine amino acids. Protein helps your body’s bones, muscles, and other tissues grow and stay strong.
Soy products can either be fermented or not. Soy products that haven’t been fermented offer traditional nutrition. Good bacteria, yeast, and mould has grown in a lab are added to fermented soy products. Fermenting soy makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb nutrients, which is good for digestion.
What’s in Soy?
Soy is a kind of bean from Asia and is a very important part of Asian food. Soy can be bought both wholes and in a processed form. Whole soy is made up of whole soybeans, soy milk, and tofu, often used in Asian cooking to replace meat. Soy is used to make yogurts, cheese, fermented soy, and supplements, among other things. Soy is good for you because it has a lot of good nutrients.
According to Colorado State University, some nutrients are fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. If you don’t eat meat, the protein in soy can help you get the protein you need without eating meat. It would help if you remembered that not everyone could eat soy. Some people are allergic to soy, which can cause their immune systems to react badly when they eat soy or products made from soy. Soy protein intolerance syndrome could happen to other people, and gas and cramps in the stomach can be caused by the syndrome.
What are the Potential Health Benefits of Soy?
Soy may make it less likely that you will get breast cancer. This goes against the myth that eating foods with phytoestrogens makes you more likely to get cancer. Research has shown that breast cancer women who ate soy products lived longer. There was also a link between eating more soy and a lower chance of getting breast cancer again in the future.
How the kidneys work. Soy milk may help your kidneys work better, according to research. Plant-based foods are easier for your body to break down than animal-based foods, and Soy milk may be easier on your kidneys than cow’s milk. You should still check the labels to make sure your soy milk doesn’t have too much sugar added.
Inflammation- In one study, it was found that women who ate more soy products had less inflammation. Less inflamed makes you less likely to get cancer, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes.
Heart health- Your cholesterol levels might go down if you eat soy products. There are different kinds of cholesterol; too much bad cholesterol can make your arteries harden and make you more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Soy is a great addition to a diet that is good for your heart because it doesn’t have any cholesterol and has very little saturated fat.
Bone health- According to studies, soy may help make your bones stronger. One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who ate a quarter-cup or more of tofu daily were 30% less likely to break a bone. Another study found that people who ate soy products were 37% less likely to break a bone.
Why are Some People Concerned About Soy?
People have eaten soybeans and foods made from them for thousands of years. Still, some people are worried about putting soy in their diet because of the following:
Estrogen-mimicking effects- People often think that soy isoflavones are like the female hormone estrogen. Even though they have a similar structure to this hormone, the effects of soy isoflavones are weaker and a little different.
Cancer risk- Some think soy isoflavones might make people more likely to get breast or endometrial cancer. Still, most studies don’t find any bad effects. In some cases, they might even protect against some types of cancer.
Thyroid function- Studies with test tubes and animals show that some compounds in soy may make the thyroid gland work less well. Yet, studies find few or no negative effects, especially in people whose thyroids work well.
Danger to babies. Some people worry that soy formula could hurt the brain, sexuality, thyroid, or immune system development. Yet, most studies haven’t found any long-term harm from soy formula in full-term, healthy babies.
Digestive issues. Studies on animals show that the antinutrients in soy may lower the function of the gut’s barrier, which could lead to inflammation and digestive problems. But more studies with people are needed to confirm this.
Can you Eat Soy Every Day?
According to the Soy Nutrition Institute, people in Japan get 30 to 50 milligrams of isoflavone daily, while people in the U.S. only get about 2.4 milligrams per day. Depending on the type of soy, eating three servings of soy foods would give you about 75 milligrams of isoflavones per day.
Soy foods like soybeans, tofu, and tempeh that are whole and haven’t been changed much have the most isoflavones. Foods like soy milk, yogurt, and edamame have a small amount. Processed soy foods, like meat substitutes, have the least amount. Soy sauce doesn’t have isoflavones, which is a shame, but it has less sodium per unit than salt. You can eat soy every day without worrying, but if you are worried or have been told you have hyperthyroidism, talk to your doctor about soy to see if it should be part of your diet.
Soy protein is usually sold as a powder called soy protein isolate. This is made from defatted soybean flakes that have been cleaned in water or alcohol to get rid of the fiber and sugars. After being washed, they are dried out and then made into powder. This soy protein isolate powder has no cholesterol and very little fat.
Soy and its products are good for reducing inflammation, especially in people with diabetes and heart disease. Because UC makes the body more inflamed, eating soy products may also worsen UC symptoms. Soybeans and foods made with soy may lower the risk of health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), and some cancers.