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Soy -- To Avoid or Enjoy?

By Expert
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There is a lot of controversy over soy products. The reason for this is due to the growing, the processing and the complex compounds found in soy.

As soy is grown, it is heavily sprayed with pesticides to protect the fruit. Due to this, soy is one of the most heavily laden foods with pesticides unless purchased organically.

The mature soybean which is a hard white bean, are processed with high heat and solvents to access the oils. This creates an edible form of a complex fruit that is extremely processed.

The compounds that give it a bad name are:

* Phytates (which prevent mineral absorption)
* Enzyme inhibitors (which prevent trypsin, a protease enzyme, from breaking down proteins)
* Goitrogens (which prevent the thyroid from incorporating the necessary mineral iodine, creating inefficient thyroid function and thyroid enlargement).

People with thyroid disorders are often concerned with eating soy as they believe it will contribute to their disorder. This is mostly true because as the iodine uptake into the thyroid is compromised and it is an essential piece to thyroid health, your thyroid can be further challenged. One way to check to see if you have sufficient stores of iodine in your system is to paint a small amount of iodine onto your forearm and let it dry. If it is still present in one day (24 hours) your body has plenty of available iodine. If the iodine is absorbed completely then your body is sequestering it rather quickly, meaning that you have a greater need for iodine and possibly thyroid hormones. Health food stores sell iodine supplements, usually in the form of kelp.

The compounds that give soy a good name are isoflavones, in particular genesteine and daidzein. These have been demonstrated to decrease the incidence of cancer in particular prostate, breast and pancreatic. There is some controversy over genesteine, but most studies point to the benefits rather than potential risks of oxidation. Isoflavones also are known to decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol and is therefore suggested to patients with cardiovascular challenges.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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