Soy is packed with vitamins and minerals, containing all the essential amino acids, making it a high-quality source of protein. It has both soluble and insoluble fibers, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, no cholesterol, and very little saturated fat compared with meat. It is consumed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer, and there’s clinical evidence to back up these assertions.
However, there’s also research saying that soy can be harmful to our health. So why the fuss? Here are the latest three common myths about soy:
Myth 1: Soy intake increases the risk of breast cancer.
Isoflavones are the main reason why many fear soybeans. Isoflavones chemically act like estrogen and are a plant compound. This led to the primary fear of breast cancer.
On the other hand, much research says that there is no link between soy with breast cancer. However, consuming soy lowers the risk of breast cancer. To reduce the potential of cancer growth, isoflavones have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Although it is a fact that isoflavones have chemical properties similar to estrogen, the compound also has antiestrogen properties, including the capacity to block natural estrogens from binding to estrogen receptors and stopping estrogen formation in fat tissue.
Myth 2: Soy meat imitation products are nutritious as they don’t contain meat.
Products like soy cheese and soy meat alternatives can be made using the ingredients of versatile soybeans. With these nutrient-packed products, soybeans replaced meat products by transforming soybean into a product like chicken nuggets or sausage.
With the help of other ingredients, the texture and flavors of actual meat are added that can be high in sodium, fat, and chemicals/preservatives.
To gain the most health blessings from soy, stick to the whole or minimally processed forms such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, and miso. Including more whole foods is an essential part of a healthy diet.
Myth 3: Men should avoid soy, as it reduces testosterone levels.
Another general myth about soy is that it reduces testosterone levels in men and can cause prostate cancer. However, a meta-analysis research study published in Fertility and Sterility showed that soy protein did not influence the reproductive hormones in men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also published a research study that showed men who really increased the consumption of soy reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 25 percent. Based on the overall reports and research, there is no need for fear in the consumption of soy foods.
The widespread misconceptions regarding soy have been debunked by factual research, which also confirms the safety and potential health advantages of consuming soy. For instance, soy looks to be helpful in preventing or treating certain types of cancer and may lower cholesterol levels. So, there is no need to fear and one can consider it the healthiest source of plant-based protein.