Effects of Soy Protein on Your Health
The effects of soy protein have been largely reported as being negative. There are lots of products available now like soybeans, soy cheese, soy milk and soy powder to make protein shakes. Several controversies about soy exist so should you avoid it?
Some common concerns about soy are:
1. Soy causes breast cancer.
The science behind excess estrogen suggests it will cause breast cancer. Soy protein contains isoflavones which are a plant compound also found in grains, legumes and vegetables. They are only found in small amounts but are more plentiful in soybeans. Isoflavones effect your body similar to estrogen but are over 1000 times weaker.
The effects of soy protein in this case are also positive. Isoflavones help regulate cell growth that will guard your body against cancer as well as your cholesterol levels. Asian populations eat a lot of soy and research has shown that larger consumption levels are associated with a decreased rate of breast cancer. Asian countries have a lower rate than North America populations.
2. Soy can damage your heart.
Contrary to this belief, soy is not bad for your heart. Research has shown that foods containing isoflavones may help young African-American adults decrease their blood pressure. It is believed that isoflavones encourage the body to create nitric oxide, a compound that helps dilate blood vessels and decrease the pressure against vessel walls.
Soy foods have high levels of fiber which helps reduce bad cholesterol levels.
3. Your thyroid is affected by soy.
Research has shown that individuals with a normal functioning thyroid gland are not at risk but a pre-existing condition requiring medications can be affected. The negative effects of soy protein are caused by them interfering with the absorption of medication through the GI tract. Less effective medication can be problematic. To help avoid this issue, allow a few hours between taking the medication and consuming soy protein.
Soy product suggestions.
You should moderate your consumption of most foods so eating one or two servings of soy foods a day is recommended.
But be aware of what you are eating. Some soy products are not very good. You should avoid soy burgers and energy bars as they are highly processed soy foods. The nutrition label in these cases state that they contain soy protein and not whole soy. Soy protein has had its nutrients removed as a result of the processing. Other products are hot dogs, steak strips, and even soy cheese that can contain refined flour and added sugar and fats.
The liquid create by cooking soybeans is soy milk. Some soy milk products are not made with real soy beans but are create from processed soy. Health food stores will sell real soy milk or find one made from whole soy beans.
The beneficial effects of soy protein are going to be found when consuming whole foods. Non-processed foods contain more nutrients. Try eating tofu and edamame beans. Tofu is a block of firm coagulated soy milk that is really high in calcium and omega-3 fats. Tofu is really common in Asian dishes. Edamame beans are young green soybeans. Most people eat them steamed and sprinkled with rock salt. Half a cup of these beans contains 8 grams of protein.
The effects of soy protein are not all negative as some would like you to believe. It is true that you need to moderate your consumption but there is no reason you can’t make it a part of your regular diet.
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