Soy

Soy

Soy
Soy supplements are commonly used to decrease overall cholesterol levels and may reduce hot flashes in women during menopause. Learn more about soy as an herbal supplement from our experts.

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    Legumes play an important role in traditional diets in many parts of the world. They are low in fat, are good sources of protein and fiber, and contain a variety of micronutrients and phytoestrogens (plant estrogens). Phytoestrogens have received a lot of attention for their ability to fight cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. They help balance hormones in the body and thus are thought to be particularly valuable against the hormone-dependent cancers: breast cancer and prostate cancer. It is well-known that male hormones play a role in prostate cancer development.

    Despite their advantages, legumes play a minor role in most Western diets. The typical Western diet (lower in vegetables and legumes and higher in animal-based foods) can cause an increase in both male and female hormones (androgens and estrogens), while a plant-based diet tends to lower these hormones. This is the basis for the role of diet in the development of hormone-dependent cancers.

    Soy foods, such as tofu, soy milk, soy beans and vegetarian burgers, seem to be particularly rich in cancer-fighting properties. This is at least partially due to a form of phytoestrogen, called isoflavones, that is found primarily in soy. It appears to help prevent prostate cancer by binding to male hormone receptors in the prostate, thus reducing the stimulating effect of male hormones on prostate cell growth.

    Epidemiological studies have shown that high levels of isoflavones are often associated with low rates of breast, colon and prostate cancer. This has been used to explain why countries such as Japan and China that typically consume large amounts of soy have lower risks of these diseases.

    The difficulty with consuming soy for reducing risk of prostate cancer is the lack of clinical trial evidence to support its use. As with any dietary component, it is difficult to isolate the effect of a particular food type to prove its effectiveness. One prospective study, including over 12,000 men, did evaluate consumption of soy milk. It found that those who drank soy milk regularly had a reduced risk of prostate cancer. The relationship held up after other factors were controlled for. Other studies need to be done to further establish the benefits of soy. In the meantime, getting more soy foods into your diet can be healthy for many reasons, and lowering your risk of prostate cancer may be one of these.

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    A , Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered
    How can eating soy help balance my hormones

    Foods with fermented soy can help balance hormones and maintain healthy estrogen levels, while products with soy protein isolate should be avoided. Watch as functional nutrition specialist Alisa Vitti describes the healthy forms of soy to look for.


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    Even though the jury is still out on soy, some women may find modest hot flash relief, says Margery Gass, MD, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. One study found that women who took a daily 160 mg dose of soy isoflavones -- the active soy ingredient that mimics estrogen -- reported feeling better during menopause, emotionally, physically, and sexually. However, studies have been inconclusive, says Dr. Gass, because "everybody's formulating it differently and using different doses of soy isoflavones, so it's tough to compare across trials." If you don't see an improvement within 12 weeks of adding soy to your diet, it's not worth continuing, she advises. Though soy isoflavones are considered safe for most women, those with a personal history of breast cancer may want to avoid it. Always talk with your doctor before taking any new supplement.

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    A , Preventive Medicine, answered
    There is no convincing evidence of adverse health effects in humans from consuming soy. Traditional healthy Asian diets generally use minimally processed, whole, or fermented soy foods, such as soy milk, tofu, miso, edamame, and tempeh. Concerns about increased cancer risk because of high exposure to soy relates to processed soy products, which contain ingredients other than soy.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Soy may be dangerous for those who have an existing thyroid problem and take medications for their thyroid. This is because soy products may interfere with how the body absorbs the medication in the GI tract, making it less effective. A general tip for those taking thyroid medication would be to wait a few hours between taking your thyroid medication and consuming any soy products. Talk to your physician about soy and any thyroid medications you may be taking.
    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Like all foods, you want to consume soy in moderation. One to two servings of whole and fermented soy foods is recommended. One average serving is 1/2 cup of tofu or 1 cup of soy milk.
    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    Soy is one of the most difficult legumes to digest, as it has powerful enzyme inhibitors. Enzymes are some of the natural chemicals the body uses to break down the foods we eat. As the name implies, an enzyme inhibitor makes it harder for our body to break down food.

    Fermentation processes neutralize these enzyme inhibitors, making traditional soy foods such as miso, tempeh, and natto much easier to digest. While these forms of soy do exist in the American diet, they account for a tiny portion of the soy we consume.
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    A OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered on behalf of
    This is a safe combination. Soy is a weak plant-based estrogen that should not interfere with your thyroid medication.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered

    Soy has been found to do the following:

    • Increase the body's calcium absorption.
    • Protect against breast, uterine, prostrate, rectal and colon cancer.
    • Lowers LDL cholesterol and improves blood pressure, while promoting healthy blood vessels.
    • Alleviates menopausal and PMS symptoms.
    • Aids in regulating blood glucose for better diabetes control.

    To reap the benefits of soy, the daily recommended amount is 25 grams per day.

     

     

     

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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    In our diet, soy appears most often broken down into isolated components: soybean oil, soy protein isolates, soy isoflavones, and soy lecithin are just some examples. You may think you don't eat a diet heavy in soy, especially if you're not a vegetarian. But once you start looking under the surface, soy is hiding in many processed foods and in places you'd find highly unlikely. You'll find soy in meats (yes, meats -- as a filler), salad dressings, low-carb versions of high-carb foods, cereals, and many other processed foods.

    The reason for this is that soy is an extremely cheap and abundant source of protein. Second only to corn, soy is one of the largest crops produced by the United States. In the 1950s, the food industry had a waste problem on their hands: Soy oil was used extensively in processed foods, which left the remaining components of the soybean, namely the protein, as waste. Waste wasn't an attractive option, so food processors began to aggressively market soy protein as a healthy, vegetarian substitute for meat and dairy to the health conscious.