When it comes to controversial foods, Soy or soy protein is usually in the list. For some it appears to be a wondrous super food while for some it may be nearly fatal. The debate over how beneficial or not soy has been all along has led to the founding of several studies that have observed the effects of soy under various conditions, based on which this article will shed the light on 3 major findings.
Nutrients in Soya bean:
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Soy is not known as a powerful food without a reason. Whole soybean is rich in manganese, selenium, Copper, potassium, calcium, B complex vitamins, Vitamin K, Iron to name a few. A 100 gm. serving of soy would give near about 175 kcals, 17gm. protein, 9 gm fat and 10 gm carbohydrates. After the class one proteins, Soyabeans are considered as a rich source of protein as they too have been found to contain a complete amino acid profile, therefore making them a better plant protein choice over others. However, the omega 6 fatty acid content of soyabean is higher and an increased consumption of omega 6 f.a. in an imbalance with omega 3 f.a. can lead to an adverse effect in the body. Therefore it is advised to avoid soyabean oil and processed foods that may contain it.
Health benefits of Soy:
Contrary to popular belief, Soy actually has been known to show positive effects in cancer protection. As per the studies in a meta analysis, it was found that consumption of soy lowered the risk of breast cancer in women from Asian countries, it was even linked to the longer survival rates of women with certain types of aggressive breast cancers. Apart from that, eating soy has also been associated with reducing the risks of gastrointestinal and prostate cancer.
In case of heart health, earlier studies have suggested that soy has a role in reducing the LDL-c and therefore may have a heart protective role. However, with recent studies it is found that although soy alone may not be able to fully do away with heart risks, but in a combined effort with other healthy foods and lifestyle it may have benefits. In any case, replacing fatty animal foods (red meats) with soy lowers the saturated fat intake and increases your dietary fiber intake which is good for cardiovascular health.
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Who should pay attention to the consumption of Soy?
In people who have are already healthy with normal thyroid functions, Soy consumption may be safe. However, in people with an underactive thyroid, you may want to consider the type of soy you can eat. The reason why thyroid patients are asked to usually avoid or restrict soy is due to its interference with the thyroid medications. However, the evidence on the effects of soy on progressing hypothyroidism is still inconclusive and experts may suggest some amount of processed soy for some.
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