Soy remains to be one of the central plant-based food figures that is still creating a soup of controversy. Although soy has been around since 9,000 B.C and soy foods plant-based recipes are considered a staple in many of the Asian countries, there is still uncertainty regarding it.
There are numerous conflicting reports on how soy affects the body. Some point to it reducing the risk of chronic diseases while others say that it creates them. What is the truth?
The Facts On Soy
Soy made its way into America in the 1960s and it wasn’t until the 1990s, that the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) showed the benefits of eating soy on a regular basis- 25 grams of soy a day could reduce coronary heart disease.
Decades of research has resulted in the following learnings:
- There was a 4-6% reduction in the LDL cholesterol, which could potentially lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by up to 12%.
- It lowers the risk of endometrial, prostate and breast cancer.
- Better bone density.
- Increase in the ratio of the good to bad gut bacteria.
- Reduces the symptoms associated with menopause.
Now, the benefits of it being able to reduce the risk of cancer and bone health could be debated, it is no doubt that soy has a great nutritional profile. It is a great source of riboflavin, vitamin K, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, fiber and protein. It is also rich in high levels of molybdenum and helps in antioxidizing.
What Is The Bad Side Of Soy?
There is no one answer to this question. Compounds in soy can inhibit the entry of iodine into the thyroid gland that in turn interferes with the absorption of thyroid medication. The biggest issue with soy has to be the fact that it has been used in processed foods, and it is not consumed in its whole form. Soy is abundant and is used in many mock meats and this is a highly processed form of soybeans that is devoid of most nutrients and is 90% rich in proteins. The extracted fat from soy protein isolate is then used to make soybean oil.
Another reason for soy getting flak is that is among the top ten allergens in the US. Up to 0.2-0.4% of the children have soy allergies and end up having symptoms like:
- Tingling in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, throat, mouth and face
- Upset stomach
- Skin redness
If one is not allergic to soy, one can include it into their diet-however, in moderation.