While soy has been consumed for over 3000 years in many Asian countries, it wasn't until the 1960s that it began to become a popular food source in the West.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions around soya, often even within medical community. I hope this article will help you to find an answer on the question whether, or not, to eat soy and soy products
I would like to debunk the health myths, so to keep it simple - soy is good 😍, there are a number of clinical studies to show that soy and soya consumption can improve your health.
Now let’s look why soy is good for you ?
1. It can reduce risk of breast cancer
Here is misunderstanding number 1, when it comes to soy. There is a false believe that soy might cause a cancer. The reason for that confusion comes from studies on rats that were exposed to high doses of compounds found in soy (isoflavones). Studies showed an increased risk of breast cancer among these rats. But rodents process soy differently from people, and the same increased cancer prevalence have not been seen in people.
For humans, in fact, it’s quite the opposite , the estrogen effects of soy seem to either have no effect at all, or to reduce breast cancer risk (you can observe it especially among women in Asia where soy consumption is quite high but breast cancer occurrence is lower than in e.g North America) .
Soy contains compounds of phytoestrogens, which are sometimes mistaken with estrogen, but we need to remember that phytoestrogens present in soy come from plants, so they work differently than human estrogen hormones.
In the breast tissue isoflavones from soy have an anti-estrogen effect.
Consumption of soya and soya products (tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame etc.) does not cause a cancer and can even reduce it. In the Adventist Health Study 2 you can see a whopping 32% reduction of breast cancer when changing dairy milk to soy milk
2. It can reduce the risk of heart disease.
A diet rich in soy products, such as tofu, may lower your risk of developing heart disease.
What’s behind this phenomenon?
Scientists have found that consuming soy significantly the reduced levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the arteries.
LDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as "bad cholesterol" because it contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, these can cause narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to a heart attack or ischemic stroke.
If you can reduce LDL without taking any pills it’s great news, use this knowledge to your advantage to reduce risk of the heart disease.
3 It Reduces menopause symptoms
The drop of estrogen during the menopause can cause hot flushes and night sweats. Taking estrogen might cause cancer, blood clot or stroke.
What’s the solution then ?
Implementing soy and soya products in your diet might be an effective alternative.
Soy and it’s positive isoflavones (Do you remember ? the same compounds which can help to reduce breast cancer) effect can be a good solution, as they mimic the effects of estrogen. By this tofu, tempeh or edamame might help reduce hot flushes and other symptoms of the menopause.
4 Strengthens your bones
The same Estrogen, which plays a vital role during the menopause, it also plays a role in preserving bone strength. That’s why your risk of developing osteoporosis for women increases during the menopause (when estrogen levels drop). Good news - research suggests that soy may be helpful for preserving bone health in women during menopause.
There is also another factor that you need to remember, an excess of protein in our diet can cause calcium excretion. Calcium is crucial for the strength of our bones, soy consumption decreases calcium excretion.
5. Promotes weight loss
Studies conducted in Illinois show a very simple relation – ‘when soy consumption goes up, weight goes down. A Miracle ? No…..soy has an impact on our metabolism. What does it mean for you ? Consumption of soy products can boost your metabolism
The monosaturated fat present in soy milk has fat blocking function. It means that by including soy milk in your diet you lower exposure to dietary fat. That’s a good reason to choose soy milk
If you are struggle with a belly fat, soy protein might be helpful. According to the study which included 18 women in their 50s who had been menopausal for one to five years. Half were randomly assigned to drink a soy-based shake each day, while the rest were given a shake containing the milk protein casein.
After three months, the researchers found, women who drank the soy shake showed less of a gain in abdominal fat, even though both groups showed similar changes in weight and overall body fat.
To an answer an internal dilemma to eat or not to eat soy, YES soy is good for you, it has plenty of health benefits and it’s so versatile in the kitchen - tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso, soy milk. Now let’s get cooking, here you can find our recipes featuring soy