Soy’s reputation has been sullied over the years, with films like Soylent Green doing no part to save soy’s image.
But, soy still has a place in healthy diets – if you eat it the right way.
Soy offers various nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Soy adaptations like tofu and tempeh provides the same nutrients, and is a sound alternative to animal proteins. If you’re looking to minimize animal-based protein consumption, soy is a great place to start.
The debate about soy revolves around phytoestrogens, or the plant-derived compounds that were thought to have the same effects as estrogen to the body. For many years, the concern around soy is the risk of growing hormone-sensitive breast cancers. Up until this point, science has teetered back and forth on whether phytoestrogens are beneficial or carry health risks.
Today’s research suggests, however, that phytoestrogens don’t work like estrogen. Recent, larger studies have revealed that diets with high soy content won’t increase the chances of developing breast cancer. In fact, it may even reduce the risks, though more research is needed on that front. Other studies point to high-soy diets through whole foods can lower heart disease risk and reduce menopause-related hot flashes.
Our conclusion: you’re safe to eat one to two servings of soy daily, as long as it’s from a natural source, or is lightly processed. The best soy options, with recommended serving sizes, include three ounces of tofu, a half cup of edamame, a cup of soy milk, or one-third cup of soy nuts.
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