Choosing The Best Soy To Eat
Are you confused as to whether soy products are good for you or not? Heard that it could raise your estrogen levels and increase cancer risk? Let’s delve into this issue. Find out which soy foods are beneficial and which to stay away from.
In recent years, soy has been touted as the healthy alternative to dairy, and a valuable source of protein, particularly for vegetarians. These days it’s hard to find a processed food that doesn’t include any soy or soy byproducts – read enough labels and you will find it in everything ranging from salad dressings to granola bars. So it comes as no surprise that, according to the EPA, soy is the second largest crop grown in the United States.
Not all soy is created equal
Historically, Asian communities across the globe have eaten soy in their diets and been spared the many health epidemics so common in Western nations such as obesity, cancer and heart disease. It’s easy then to conclude that soy is indeed a healthful food.
However, it turns out that not all soy is created, or processed, equally and this can impact the overall health benefit or risk. It is important therefore to know some facts about the manufacturing of soy and soy products.
Organically grown, traditionally fermented
Fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh provide nutrients that are easily absorbed.
The process of fermentation enabled the Chinese to convert what was once merely a cover crop into a viable food source. The greatest risk seems to be consuming soy that is NOT traditionally fermented. Unless traditionally fermented and Organic, soy may do more harm than good for the body. Studies have shown significant health risks associated with eating this legume.
Studies have found that soy products may:
- Increase the risk of breast cancer in women, brain damage in both men and women,
- and abnormalities in infants
- Contribute to thyroid disorders, especially in women
- Promote kidney stones
- Weaken the immune system
- Cause severe, potentially fatal food allergies
- Impaired fertility
- Danger during pregnancy and nursing
Undesirable products contained in soy:
- Phytoestrogens (isoflavones) genistein and daidzein, which mimic and sometimes block the hormone estrogen. It has profound adverse hormone effects.
- Phytates, which block the body’s uptake of minerals
- Enzyme Inhibitors, which hinder protein digestion
- Haemaggluttin, which causes red blood cells to clump together and inhibits oxygen take-up and growth
- Additionally, most soybeans are grown on farms that use toxic pesticides and herbicides, and many are from genetically engineered plants. GMO long terms effects are unknown.
In addition, 90% of the soy sold in the United States is genetically modified.
In summary, research suggests minimizing soy intake overall and limiting it to traditionally fermented and organically grown fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh.
…Just some food for thought. We hope it helps you to make informed decisions about what you choose for you and your family.
How much do Asians consume soy?
Article from Weston A Price Foundation
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