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Is Soy Good or Bad For Me?

May 3rd, 2012

The sIs soy good or badoybean is a popular legume native to Southeast Asia. Soy had been known to bring a lot of health benefits. It is often regarded as a good source of non-animal protein, iron, calcium, fibers, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin B complex among others. Soy products had been known to lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers; lowers bad cholesterol levels; keeps our teeth and bones healthy and alleviates symptoms of menopause. The latest discovery links soy to reducing the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer.

However new information has surfaced saying soy can actually cause ill-effects to our health. The effect of soy in relation to breast cancer remains debatable. Some believe that soy hinders the development of breast cancer but critics say soy increases the risk of hormone-related cancer such as breast and ovarian cancer  Here are other health problems associated with soybeans:

  • underactive thyroid and goiter (for those who have iron deficiency)
  • abnormal sexual development in children
  • endometrial hyperplasia
  • uterine and cervical cancer
  • mineral and vitamin deficiency
  • weakens the immune system
  • development of kidney stones

Since there are both good and bad effects, it’s hard to tell which is fact and which is just myth.

Is soy good or bad? The key is to look at the kind of soy product you eat or drink. They may either be fermented or unfermented.

Unfermented soy products include bean curd, tofu, soy milk, soy protein powders and soy meat alternatives, such as soy sausages/veggie burgers, made from hydrolysed soy powder. Soy as a legume, contains phytic acid which blocks the body from absorbing minerals and iodine that our body needs. They also contain phytoestrogens that has adverse effects on various human tissues.

Fermented soy on the other hand is considered to be the good soy. This is because during the process of fermentation, phytic acid is neutralized. Fermented soy products include organic miso, organic tempeh, soy sauce or tamari and natto. By undergoing fermentation, probiotics are developed which makes our digestive tract healthy.

Note: Health insurance consumers who want more information on the health related illnesses listed above should contact their health care provider or their health insurance carrier to find a physician.

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