Facebook Pixel

Soy -- To Avoid or Enjoy?

By Expert
Rate This

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.

The risks of soy are usually thwarted by fermenting as the phytates and enzyme inhibitors are diminished. Fermented soy products include soy or tamari sauce, tempeh, miso, and natto. As you choose your soy products, ascertain that they are organic. If you like soy milk, exchange it out occasionally with other milk alternatives like almond, rice, hemp and oat milk. Edamane is a young soy bean, providing a more nutritious protein with live enzymes that are more easily digested.

Take caution if your nutrition plan is heavy in soy as you may be anemic, lack other essential minerals which contribute to fatigue, or you may experience a protein deficiency due to blocked absorption from enzyme inhibitors. You can consider using digestive enzymes to enhance protein absorption and take extra minerals as a supplement. Although this article is mainly about the health of soy in our diets, please take note that if you are a vegetarian, B12 is an essential nutrient that must be taken in to as it is difficult to get enough B12 if you don’t eat meat.

In our country, we tend to believe that if a little is good, more must be better. When the benefits of soy originally became known, many Americans created soy as a staple. Unfortunately, without the knowledge regarding heavy pesticides and non-fermented products causing health risks, we unnecessarily created more health issues like thyroid imbalances and nutrient deficiencies. The most important aspect of nutrition is be mindful of not overindulging in any one food and instead to enjoy life’s bounty of color, texture, and flavor to saturate and satisfy your taste buds, but more importantly, to nurture and revitalize your cells.


Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

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.

Thyroid Conditions

Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!