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Soy: The Good, the Bad and the Best | The Dr. Oz Show

And some findings suggested that these compounds could promote the growth of some cancer cells , impair female fertility , and mess with thyroid function. At the same time, other studies were still showing that soy consumption could cure high cholesterol and help women cope with the symptoms of menopause. Add it all up, and you can see how this little green bean became a source of mass dietary confusion. A PLoS One meta-analysis of 35 studies found that soy intake lowered breast cancer risk for women in Asian countries; among U.

Eating soy could help protect against other types of cancer, too. Findings show that soy consumption may slightly lower the risk for gastrointestinal cancers and have a protective effect in prostate cancer survivors. Eating a high-fiber diet is also tied to lower colon cancer rates, and soyfoods like edamame and tempeh both have plenty of roughage. Women undergoing in vitro fertilization who have environmental exposure to BPA are more likely to get pregnant if they also ate soy. Consuming over mg of soy isoflavones the equivalent of 6-ounces uncooked tempeh or 16 cups soy milk daily was linked to reduced ovarian function, found a Journal of Nutrition review.

As for soy solving hot flash problems? It might help, but not for everyone. Among women whose bodies produce the soy metabolite equol, those who ate the most soy experienced significantly fewer hot flashes and night sweats compared to those who ate the least, found one Menopause study.

What is soy?

If it helps, you produce equol. But if you have an underactive thyroid, you might want to watch how much soy you eat. The evidence is still far from conclusive, but experts still advise to wait at least four hours after consuming soy to take your thyroid medicine. Early research suggested that soy could help lower levels of bad cholesterol. In general, replacing animal foods with plant foods like soy lowers saturated fat intake and ups fiber intake, both of which are help your heart. In other words, swapping that steak out for tofu or tempeh is a heart-smart move. Soy frankenfoods like meat analogs, soy bars, soy yogurts, or protein powders usually only contain soy protein isolates, rather than nutrition from the whole soybean.

As for how often you should eat soy? As with all foods, moderation is the way to go.

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Generally, three to five servings of minimally processed soy foods per week are perfectly fine, Bhatia says. Type keyword s to search.

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Other soy supplements include soy isoflavones, which are available in capsule form, and soy lecithin, which can be taken in capsules or as a powder. For example, one cup grams of edamame contains 4 :. Soy also provides small amounts of vitamin E, niacin , vitamin B6 and pantothenic acid 4. Moreover, it contains, prebiotic fiber and several beneficial phytochemicals, such as plant sterols and the isoflavones daidzein and genistein 5.

These improvements were greater in people with high cholesterol levels 6. In another review of 38 studies, researchers noted that an average soy intake of 47 grams per day was linked to a 9.

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Fiber seems to play an important role in cholesterol-lowering effects of soy.. In one study, adults with high cholesterol took 25 grams of soy protein with or without soy fiber for eight weeks. The soy with fiber reduced LDL cholesterol more than twice as much as soy protein alone 8. Soy may improve fertility outcomes in women who are trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatments.

All About Soy Milk: Nutrition, Benefits, Risks, and How It Compares With Other Milks

Another study in over women receiving in vitro fertilization IVF treatments showed that those who took 1, mg of soy phytoestrogen a day had higher rates of implantation and pregnancy compared to those who did not take soy A third study demonstrated that soy had a protective effect against BPA, a chemical found in plastic, which may have negative impacts on fertility.

Women who ate soy before IVF were more likely to have a successful pregnancy than those who did not Furthermore, soy intake by the prospective father does not seem to negatively impact pregnancy rates in women receiving IVF Isoflavones are a class of phytoestrogens found naturally in soy that act like a weak estrogen in the body. Estrogen levels decrease during menopause , leading to symptoms like hot flashes.

Since soy acts as a natural estrogen, it may help reduce these symptoms. Lastly, in another review of 17 studies, women who took an average dose of 54 mg of soy isoflavones a day for 12 weeks had Soy contains isoflavones, which act like estrogen in the body. Since many breast cancers need estrogen to grow, it would stand to reason that soy could increase breast cancer risk. In a review of 35 studies on soy isoflavone intake and breast cancer incidence, higher soy intake reduced breast cancer risk in both pre- and postmenopausal Asian women.

For women in Western countries, one study showed soy intake had no effect on the risk of developing breast cancer This difference may be due to the different types of soy eaten in the Asian compared to the Western diet. Soy is typically consumed whole or fermented in Asian diets, whereas in Western countries, soy is mostly processed or in supplement form.

Is Soy Safe for Kids?

Therefore, fermented soy may have a more protective effect against breast cancer compared to soy supplements. Soy contains goitrogens, substances that may negatively impact the thyroid by blocking iodine absorption.

Soy and a healthy diet: what are the best sources?

Test-tube and animal studies have shown that soy isoflavones block the production of thyroid hormones 19 , Studies on the impact of soy on thyroid function in humans suggest it may not have a significant impact. In a review of 14 studies, soy had little to no effect on thyroid function, and the authors concluded that people with hypothyroid disease do not need to avoid soy as long as their iodine intake is adequate Plus, two randomized trials in postmenopausal women found that up to mg a day of soy isoflavones had no significant effect on thyroid hormone production 22 , Because soy contains phytoestrogens , men may worry about including it in their diet.

However, studies do not indicate that soy negatively impacts the production of testosterone in men. In a review of 15 studies in men, intake of soy foods, protein powders or isoflavone supplements up to 70 grams of soy protein and mg of soy isoflavones per day did not affect free testosterone or total testosterone levels In a review of 30 studies, high soy consumption was linked to a significantly lower risk of developing the disease Additionally, most genetically modified soy products withstand the pesticide glyphosate which is controversial.

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Certain GMO soy products have been found to contain glyphosate residues and have a poorer nutritional profile compared to organic soybeans Therefore, to avoid GMOs and exposure to glyphosate, stick with organic soy. Soy offers several benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, fertility outcomes and menopause symptoms. Yet, it remains controversial as weak evidence from animal studies suggests that it may be linked to breast cancer, poor thyroid function and interference with male hormones. Overall, the benefits of incorporating soy into your diet most likely outweigh any potential risks, so feel free to eat whole or fermented soy foods in moderation.

Soy protein is a controversial food — while some think of it as a nutritional powerhouse, others see it as an enemy to health. This article tells you….