In my wellness journey so far I think I’ve done relatively well with finding foods that are better for my health. I don’t understand every ingredient on earth yet, but soy especially has always been one guaranteed to stump me. Is it good or bad for me? Will it prevent cancer or cause cancer? Soy has to be one of most, if not the most, controversial ingredients in the science and health community.
I’ve always tried to avoid soy in all forms, mostly because I didn’t like the taste of most soy products, but also because I’ve heard it can negatively affect estrogen levels in both men and women, among other detrimental effects. So today I’m going to take a look at soy and try to reach a conclusion about whether this ingredient should be embraced or avoided.
Soy is derived from a soybean found in edamame and other whole soybean plants, and then becomes a key ingredient in foods like tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, and meat alternatives.
So let’s first take a look at the bad stuff. The fact that we have progressively produced soy foods with more and more genetic modification over the years immediately tells us that it isn’t the best thing we can give our bodies. And through this genetic modification, soy contains something called phytoestrogens (fake estrogen). So, consuming phytoestrogens excessively on a regular basis is likely to yield higher levels of estrogen in both women AND men. For men they would begin to exhibit more feminine characteristics, while women may develop breast and cervical cancer.
Now I’m sure there are probably more minor side effects connected to soy, but really the majority, if not all of them, are because of GMOs. But if you instead find a soy product such as nattō (a traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans) then that can do a world of good for your health.
I was actually very surprised at how many benefits soy (without the GMOs) can provide. Some studies even claim that natural soy like that can prevent cancer (read here for more), as well as lengthen our life span and reduce the risk of heart disease. This is possible because natural fermented soy is packed with probiotics and vitamin K2, both of which support bone and heart health.
So I must say that I’m not as scared of soy as I used to be. Of course with anything, natural is best. But now at least I can confidently eat soy and be sure that it is not harming my body.
And maybe, through your own research, you have come to a different conclusion about the effects of soy on our bodies. Maybe you’ve found more evidence against soy than for it. Comment below or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org!