IS SOY HEALTHY OR DANGEROUS ?
Soy is one of the most blessed and most coursed food nowadays: many people debate wether is soy healthy or dangereous for eating while many others could not imagine their diet without soy and various soy products.
It was not easy for me to write this Hub, because all the time I had in mind very aggressive negative propaganda against soy which started several years ago and frightened very many people.
This article is based primarly on my 14 years long experience of eating soy (as well as on experience of the others who regurarly eat it for many years).
I love soy, started to eat it while listening my intuition (my decision was not influenced by any propaganda) and thanks to it I easily quit eating meat with only most positive impacts of vegeterian diet on my health. I used to eat a lot of meat before, as people today usually do, and loved the taste of meat, but my body did not take it well (I felt tired and sleepy after meat meals, had all sorts of infections, poor immune system, problem with joints, hormones, digestion...) and due to that switched on vegetarian food that literally saved my life (the other reason was compassion for animals).
I mainly used soy meat products to replace meat in my meals and thanks to the texture of soy meat, I did not feel any phsychological troubles through that transition, and my body enjoyed benefits of much healthier food and became stronger and healthier then ever before. With a little bit of experience and playing with spices, soy meat can be as tasty as any other meat - I tested it on people who cannot imagine diet without meat: they did not even notice that they were eating soy meat instead of meat of animals.
While normaly eating soy for years (of course I did not eat ONLY soy to replace meat, but have eaten soy reasonably often), as well as I eat many whole grains, other beans and vegetables, effects of my diet on health were amazing:
- I got much more energy then ever, started to look younger and be healthier, what was more then enough of good reasons for me to stick to this diet.
After many years of innocently eating soy as great source of proteins as well as many people I know, several years ago I first time observed one my British friend panickly refusing to eat one small soy steak in the restaurant - he said that soy could interfere with his testosterone levels. Well, I had to laugh on his panick, because I know many men who normally eat soy as a part of their diet for many years and who do not have any problem with lack of testosterone - on the contrary.
Recently I have read bunch of articles about allegedly dangerous effects of soy on health: human imagination can go very far when intentionaly decides to give negative marketing to the product that is obviously good and healthy in it`s normal, moderate use (I doubt that anybody would benefit if eating soy only and nothing else).
So what is truth about soy?
Truth about soy based on my experience and other facts
My personal experience (14 years of eating soy) and experience of people I know who regurarly eat soy (some of them for more then 40 years) show that we gained only benefits while eating soy:
- increase of vital energy,
- quicker regeneration,
- better health,
- better mood,
- better immunity
- better digestion
- no problem with weight
I had several health problems connected with unhealthy diet BEFORE the soy-era, not afterwords, so I cannot get scared with negative propaganda of those ones who do not eat soy at all, never tried it and without any personal experience frighten the rest of the world with alleged danger of this innocent herb, while my experience has proved that my health improved.
Soybeans are considered to be a source of complete protein. It contains all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body's inability to synthesize them. According to the US Food and Drug Administration:
"Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because, unlike some other beans, soy offers a 'complete' protein profile. ... Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat—without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet"
Soy is good source of vitamins B - especially B12 and iron. None of the people who are eating soy did not develop iron and B12 defficiency (only if they already had it before they started to eat soy). Soy is also rich on calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Soy consists phytohormones especially isoflavones - phytoestrogens that have great antioxidant properties.
What are phyto-hormones (phyto estrogens)?
These are chemicals within the plants that regulate plant growth. Every plant has phytohormones, none of them could live neither grow without them. Plants do not have endocrine glands, so their "hormones" cannot be compared to the neither human nor animal ones - phytohormones are more sophisticated and even more intelligent then any of human or animal´s hormones - they have ability to transform in substance that plant in certain period needs the most and their most important duty is - TO ATTAIN BALANCE in the plant.
Phytoestrogens do not act as estrogens, neither like xenoestrogens, on the contrary: phytoestrogens do in the human body the same as in body of the plants: THEY REGULATE HORMONAL LEVELS. Phytoestrogens are even able to block too high level of estrogens in humans (when needed they act as estrogen-antagonist), so they always promote overall balance.
Diet rich in soy is great for women - in all age, especially is helpful in perimenopausal period and menopause - soy promotes overal hormonal balance. Women can eat it as much as they need, also acompanied by healthy diet and as healthy life-style as possible. Soy also helps to prevent tumors and cancers of breasts and sexual organs - because it balances hormonal levels.
Soy is great for prevention of prostate cancer, more about men and soy intake in next chapter.
Isoflavones in supplements do not benefit everyone on the same way as natural soy - for some people they are great, for some they are not.
There are 2 types of soy products:
- non-fermented soy (as soy milk, tofu, soy meat (TVP) and soy beans)
- fermented soy (miso, soy sauce, tempeh)
According to the researches, non-fermented soy is much more useful and healthier then fermented, because it consists all needed proteins and amino acids, what fermented products do not consists, except tempeh, because in the rest of fermented products (as miso and soy sauce) it is very small amount of soy.
Fermented products also did not show positive impact on prostate health in research about prevention and healing of prostate cancer with soy. http://www.medpagetoday.com/Urology/ProstateCancer/5272
Buy Non-GMO Soy Isoflavones online
Non-GMO Soy Isoflavones
Can Men Eat Soy?
Diet with soy can be very helpful for health of prostate, especially for preventing prostate cancer that is caused by testosterone imbalance and overal hormonal imbalance. Studies in Japan clearly show that for prostate cancer prevention is helpful soy that is not fermented (soybeans, soy-meat, tofu, soy milk). Isoflavones supplements do not have any impact of prostate improval, neither fermented soy (soy sauce as Shoyu or Tamari, tempeh or miso). http://www.medpagetoday.com/Urology/ProstateCancer/5272
Just to add, that moderate soy intake should be a part of overal healthy diet, acompanied by reasonably healthy life-style and positive attitude about life. Without other two conditions, it is naïve to expect that soy only can perform miracles.
Prevention is always the best: prostate cancer is result of many factors they preceed to hormonal imbalance (Please read my article: HEALTH OF PROSTATE ) high level of stress has a lot to do with it, as well as unhealed life traumatic experiences. When cancer is already occurred, it cannot be expected that will be immediately healed with increased soy intake only.
Men who are afraid of "too estrogenic" effects of soy, should understand that phytoestrogenes do not work as estrogens (they are very tender and healthy natural herbal chemicals that cannot be compared to real human or animal hormones). It is good to know that they are also at least two herbs that produce phyto testosterone that could balance testosterone levels for men who have naturaly too low levels of testosterone and these herbs could be and should be added to moderate soy consumption, so all fears from soy can disappear:
It is also important to mention that meat has aggressive estrogenic effect as well as milk and diary products that succesfuly destroy production of testosterone (BTW, alcohol is also great killer of testosterone). Men who quit eating mentioned unhealthy food and replaced it with healthy food with moderate intake of soy, lost excess of weight and their testosterone levels are just fine, much better then before, because healthy food healed their livers (liver is very crucial organ for healthy metabolism of sex hormones.).
More about estrogenic effect in environment that negatively influences health of men (and women) you can read in the article: MALE GENDER IS IN SERIOUS DANGER - EFFECT OF POLLUTERS
Babies and soy milk
Breastfeeding is always the best option for babies. If woman really cannot breastfeed , soy milk (in formula) is only one of various options that could be given to the child as replacement for human milk that is always the best option. Soy formula and soy milk is very often chosen as an addition to breastmilk, especially after age 1.
Majority of babies are completely lactose intolerant up to the 1 year of age so many of them cannot be fed neither by cow´s milk nor by cow´s milk formulas as replacement for breastmilk.
Soy milk and phytohormones (phytoestrogens)
Before attacking soy for "too estrogenic" effects, It is good to know that there are real estrogens in mother´s milk. (BTW, mother´s milk does not have testosterone at all and moms feed their male and female babies with the same milk). Cow´s milk or goat`s milk is actually full of estrogens (and have zero testosterone).
What about soy? Comparing to human or animal´s estrogenes, soy isoflavones (phytoestrogens) work on very tender way, and balance hormonal levels, they have ability to balance overproduction of estrogens, because when needed they suppress too high level of estrogens.
Soy milk is prepared of very little amount of soy beans so there is tremendous exaggeration about quantity of phytohormones that are allegedely taken in soy milk-formulas for babies, real quantity of isoflavones are actually very low and they can only be benefit for the health .
Some babies also cannot consume soy milk formula up to the age of 1 because it can be too heavy for them. It does not mean that baby is "allergic" on soy, it means that baby`s digestive system is still not developed enough for soy or other beans intake.
It is fact that there are also rice milk, almond milk and oat milk (in formula or pure) that could be used for feeding the babies, soy is not the only option.
Is it soy milk dangerous for the boys? No it is not. Will the boys become girls or hermaphrodits after drinking soy milk? No they will not. Why? They drink estrogens in breastmilk as well (that does have zero testosterone) and it is really high amount of real animal estrogens in cow`s or goat´s milk (also with zero testosterone) . Amount of estrogens in animal´s milks is much higher then in human milk and more hormonally active and aggressive that any isoflavone from soy could ever be. For difference, isoflavones in soy milk act very tenderly and adjust to the needs of the baby, because their impact on human hormonal levels are not the same as real hormones in animal´s milks, so they cannot be harmful for male or female babies, on the contrary. Just do not feed your children with soy only, there is no good in any exaggeration.
Herbs as soy do not have endocrine glands, so their phytohormones DO NOT ACT as human or animal´s - phytohormones actually balance human hormonal levels!
Of course, every Mom who has baby should investigate on her own what works for her baby the best, because every child has different digestive system and different needs so it is very difficult to give advice that could satisfy all.
Soy Formula Is Good For Babies:
Do I need to defend soy? Yes I do, because soy improved my health !
It is a lot of really horrible and false accusations said about soy. Why is that? When soy is proclaimed as food that can completely replace need for meat or help people to lower intake of meat, meat and milk industry reacted with "revenge against soy". Money is, as always, involved in everything.
People also forget that today majority of the cattle is fed mainly by soy and soy products, so if they are afraid of soy, they should also avoid ALL MEATS AND DIARY PRODUCTS.
So many people now completely avoid soy because of false negative marketing, even they would benefit of moderate use of soy in their meals.
What is falsely said about soy:
1. Soy is falsely accused to cause hypothyroidism
This is impossible that soy might cause hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is very often caused by dropping down sexual hormones, among other reasons. Isoflavones in soy gently balance sexual hormones and other hormones, so they prevent that thyroid gland starts slowing down. Of course, soy cannot heal all conditions one human is exposed to: insufficient iodine intake, stress, too much work, life traumas, pollutants, radioactivity, arteficial hormonal therapies that negatively affect health of the thyroid.
2. Eating soy is linked to memory loss ?
This is nonsense. My brain works much better when I eat enough of soy products (as soy beans and soy meat), because I get sufficient amount of all amino acids. Last year I tested eating meat in certain period, but my brain functions and health of the joints started to be negatevily affected by meat intake, as well as my sex hormones quickly dropped down (due to the artificial hormones in meat) so I returned to soy what brought big relief for my brain, joints and hormonal levels (in addition to my remedies).
3. Soy has been falsely accused to be carcinogenic
Since I eat soy, I feel better, look younger and regenerate my cells more quickly then ever. If soy would be truly dangerous for health, I would be already dead after 14 years of regular eating of soy, as well as other people whom I know and who regularly eat soy (my Mum, a lot of my friends, my boyfriend). And all of them feel and are healthier then they were on unhealthy or meat diet. Of course, none of use expect that soy will perform all health miracles in our lives, neither we eat soy in all food products we consume.
4. Soy has been accused to cause osteoporosis
One more nonsense. Soy balances levels of sexual hormones, it is not "too estrogenic", because it acts as estrogen's antagonist when needed. Osteoporosis is caused by low level of sexual hormones, especially estrogens, so soy is one of the foods that can help women to attain hormonal balance again and prevent osteoporosis. Soy also has sufficient amount of calcium that is also beneficial for health of the bones.
5. Soy is allergen
Well, today many people are allergic on all sorts of foods, so nothing strange that some of them are allergic on soy as well. If soy is not organicaly raised, people might be allergic on pesticides they stay in all crops, as well as they stay in soy. Of course that people who are allergic on soy should not eat it.
6. It is said that soy has negative impact on minerals in the body because of phytic acid in soy that has ability to bind minerals so they cannot stay in the body.
The truth is that phytic acid almost completely disappear in the process of cooking, so what is not there, it cannot have negative impact on the body.
The truth is also that mentioned phytic acid through the mineral binding properties is able to prevent colon cancer, because it helps that body gets rid of excess of minerals and heavy metals that primarily stay deposed in colons. It has been shown that phytic acid is protective against Parkinson's disease in vitro. (It significantly decreased cell death) so small amounts of phytic acid in food are more then needed for the health of everyone.
Cattle is fed by raw soy and has problem with excess of phytic acid, because soy is not cooked. Humans eat cooked soy so cannot have any problems with excess of phytic acid.
7. As a part of negative propaganda against soy, it is even said that Eastern Asians it much less soy then Americans and Europians
This is so funny that Eastern Asians can only laugh on that. Soy is very valuable crop in many countries in Asia and their daily soy intake (tofu, beans, soy milk, tempeh etc) is much higher then we can imagine and certainly higher then in any of Western Countries . While eating their traditionally food with a lot soy, as well as other beans, grains and vegetables, they are healthier then Western people with all their unhealthy eating habits.
Food is very delicate topic and people are especially sensitive on info about it, but from my side, there are only compliments to the soy, no matter what that ones who never tried it but critizise it could say .
My experience with eating soy is only positive, as a part of overall healthy diet. Everyone who I know that is eating soy for many years never complained about it, but some soy products can be bad due to the various artificial additives (as sodium mono glutamate or artificial sweeteners), if soy is GMO etc. Such products should be always avoided.
The best is organically grown soy and organically soy products.
Healthy and balanced diet adjusted to the real needs of every person certainly differs from one person to another.
I feel much better when I eat more soy then less (soy beans and soy meat) and there is no animal protein that can replace that long term good feeling and increase of vital energy that I have thanks to the soy. My body feels the best when is on phyto-proteins - that`s me.
I wish that everyone of you find your own key of healthy eating: food should make you full of energy immedieately after eating, make you feel content, active and healthy, whatever combination you choose. Your body knows the best, the key is not only in what you find delicious or you are used to. You are free to experiment and find the combination that suits you best...
Just, please, do not be afraid of soy... no need for that !
Usui and Karuna Reiki teacher and alternative healer
Info about my healing services: http://hubpages.com/profile/Tatjana-Mihaela
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