When you hear the word “soy,” the first things that come to mind are all the health claims you remember from years ago. Wasn’t there a discussion about the cause of soy”man-boobs?” And what about these possible links to breast cancer, thyroid disease and dementia? But these claims have not been clinically proven, according to experts from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
“Soy is probably the most controversial nutritional topic,” says Kathryn Piper, RD, LDdietician and founder of The anti-aging dietitian. “The different research findings are most likely related to variations in how soy is studied.”
Soy can be safely eaten several times a week, especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meats, say dietitians we spoke with.
“Many studies support the safety of 25 grams of soy protein a day,” says Piper. “Soy is nutrient dense, providing protein, fiber, calcium and B vitamins and it appears to have a positive impact on people with heart disease and diabetes and postmenopausal women.”
Consider the potential benefits of eating more soy. Read on, and for more, don’t miss 4 surprising effects of cottage cheese.
Soy is a rich source of protein, essential for muscle repair and building. And as we’ve pointed out many times, muscle is metabolically active. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the less fat you are likely to carry on your body.
Protein is also satiating, keeping you feeling full longer and fighting sugary carb cravings. “Soy may play a positive role in insulin resistance, fatty acid metabolism, and other hormonal, cellular, or molecular changes associated with weight gain,” says a member of the medical review board. Lauren Manaker, MS, RDNdietitian nutritionist and founder of Nutrition advice now.
A study in the International Journal of Medical Sciences which examined the impact of soy on obese people found that dietary soy protein consumption consistently reduced body weight, fat mass, and cholesterol levels.
While a diet high in soy protein can help you lose weight and ease your heart, there are other circulatory benefits to be gained from consuming soy and soy products. “Soy may help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease,” says a member of Eatthis.com’s medical review board Toby Amidor, MS, RDauthor of Diabetes Build Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook. She cites a 2019 meta-analysis published in the Nutrition reviewwho found that soy protein reduced low-density lipoprotein, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, by 3-4% in adults.
Two other conditions play a key role in heart disease, heart attacks and strokes that eating more soy can alleviate: high blood pressure and inflammation, Amidor says.
Low-grade chronic inflammation is a condition in which immune system cells constantly flood the body due to poor diet, smoking, alcohol abuse, and other lifestyle factors. This covert assault can damage tissue, such as artery walls, which can trigger another silent killer: high blood pressure.
Inflammation and high blood pressure can cause plaques to develop in the arteries that can rupture and trigger blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. Two recent studies suggest that supplementing the diet with soy protein may reduce arterial pressure and chronic inflammation.
As you age, your risk of osteoporosis increases. According to National Osteoporosis Foundation. Eating more soy can help protect you from broken bones.
“Isoflavones in soy foods are linked to improving bone mineral density and preventing osteoporosis-related bone loss, regardless of your weight,” Manaker says. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, a compound of plant origin found in greater abundance in soy and soy products than in any other food.
High levels of estrogen have been linked to breast cancer. For this reason, women with breast cancer on hormone therapy have already been told to avoid eating soy products. However, moderate soy consumption – up to two servings of tofu, soymilk or edamame a day – does not increase the risk of breast cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. And eating soy products may actually have a protective effect, according to a large study published in the journal Cancerwho found that isoflavone, the main phytoestrogen in soy, was associated with reduced mortality from not just breast cancer, but from all causes.
Other research published in 2022 by the American Association for Cancer Research found that soy may protect young girls from developing breast cancer later in life, Amidor says. The study examined the diets of 329 girls from puberty until 2 years after the first menstruation and found an inverse association between soy consumption and absolute fibroglandular volume, indicating a lower risk of breast cancer. breast.
Jeff Csatari, a contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, is responsible for publishing Galvanized Media books and magazines and advising journalism students through the Zinczenko New Media Center at Bethlehem Moravian University, in Pennsylvania. Read more