There has been so much written about soy. And, from my experience, all of the articles and whatnot that I have read on the subject fall into two camps: It’s the greatest thing for your health or it’s disastrous for your health, and should be avoided at all costs. But, what do you think? Is soy good or bad for your health? If you said yes, you’d be right and if you said no, you’re also right! Huh? Yup! You see, there’s merit to both sides of the argument. Let’s take a look.
First, the bad.
Isolated soy and processed foods can be problematic because they tend to contain unnaturally concentrated soy protein like what is found in protein powders and meat substitutes. These highly processed foods retain little or none of the beneficial nutrients contained in whole soybeans. And what’s worse, these concentrated soy proteins have been implicated in causing elevated Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) levels in the body. And high levels of IGF-1 in the body are linked to risks for cancer. Now, your body does need some IGF-1 for things like growth and maintenance of muscle, but too much is not good.
And then there’s genetically modified soy. There are arguments on both sides of the fence on the issue of GMOs, but I personally steer clear of genetically modified soy. For me, there are just too many questions as to its ability to negatively impact our health. I just don’t have the warm fuzzies! So, to avoid this, I always go organic when eating soy.
And, now the good!
Research has shown that whole and minimally processed soy foods like edamame, tofu and tempeh provide great health benefits. It’s the isoflavones in soy which is a type phytoestrogen that has sparked much of the outcry against soy. The big worry was that these plant estrogens could potentially promote hormonal cancers like breast cancer. But, research has provided a large body of evidence that suggests that whole and minimally processed soy foods are protective against breast cancer. Studies have also shown that soy foods are not only linked with a decreased risk of hormonal cancers, but also lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers! Fantastic!
Now this does not mean that you need to go out and load up on the soy. Just think of it as just another bean in your diet. Eat soybeans in their minimally processed forms like edamame, tempeh, tofu and unsweetened soy milk. And, enjoy a variety of beans. CLICK HERE to read why beans are so fabulous!
For the best health protection and to get plenty of phytonutrients in your diet, eat a variety of whole natural plant foods including beans, lentils and while you’re at it, add in some edamame, tofu and tempeh. If you haven’t tried edamame in a salad or a soup, you are missing out. One of my very favorite recipes, the Super Sushi Salad, comes from the book, My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn. I love it so much that I have it once a week. To your good health!