Its health attributes, mainly due to its high content of isoflavones, nevertheless continue to raise controversy. What are its real effects on health?
WHAT ABOUT SOY?
Soy is a legume native to Asia rich in protein, fiber, unsaturated fat and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium. It is the basis of certain foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame (soybeans) and soy drinks.
Studies show that soy consumption has a modest effect on reducing bad LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. The benefits on heart health are mainly attributable to the fact that by consuming soy, we reduce our consumption of foods of animal origin, sources of fats harmful to the heart. On the other hand, soy contains good unsaturated fats and fiber which are beneficial to heart health.
The effects of soy isoflavones on bone health are still being studied. On the other hand, soy foods contain high quality protein as well as a good amount of calcium which is well absorbed by the body, which contributes to good bone health.
The effects of soy on breast cancer risk has been the subject of much debate. According to the latest research, the consumption of soy in the form of food is safe for women with or at risk of breast cancer and may improve the prognosis of breast cancer.
Menopause and hot flashes
Genistein, one of the isoflavones found in soy, has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes associated with menopause. For a satisfactory result, it is necessary to consume a minimum of 19 mg/day of genistein. To consume 19 mg of genistein, you must consume either 300 ml of soy beverage, or 150 g of tofu or 75 g of tempeh.
Male reproductive system
Isoflavones mimic the effects of estrogen, female hormones. Some therefore fear that its consumption may have harmful effects on male fertility. Studies show that consumption of up to 150 mg/day of isoflavones has no negative effect on the male reproductive system. This is equivalent to a daily consumption of 680 g of tofu, 1.5 liters of soy beverage or 150 g of protein isolate.
In conclusion, soy can occupy a place of choice in a varied and balanced diet. It can be consumed every day without danger, while avoiding excess. To get the most benefits, we prefer its whole form (edamame and dry bean) rather than its derivatives and supplements. We also favor fermented products, such as tamari sauce, tempeh and miso.