How soy affects our health?

When home food contains soy in it, the dish automatically becomes tasty, isn’t it? Soy is such a product which adds a unique essence to any normal cooked dish and even if it is cooked individually, it becomes worth savouring. But have you wondered about the health effects of soy in the long run? Can consuming more quantities of soy on a daily basis cause you any harm or can you get some sort of deficiency if you decide to not include it in your diet? 

 

All questions answered in the next part of the blog, so grab a cup of coffee (with soy milk in it) and keep on reading further. To ascertain the impact of soy on our health, we should first know what it means in a literal sense? Soy or commonly known as soybeans are a type of legumes that are consumed either as whole or processed into different types of products. Whole soy products appear like greenish immature soybeans and they are made into soy milk or tofu. Additionally, soy milk is a great alternative for those who avoid dairy or have lactose intolerance. Other than whole soybean, fermented soy products are also consumed which have been processed using traditional methods.

 

Did you know that soy is used to make soy based processed foods like cheese, yogurt and even meat substitutes? Well, quite interesting right? Further, soy supplements like soy protein are found in many protein powders and often added to protein bars and shakes. 

Positive health benefits of soy are as follows: 

  • Helps to lower cholesterol levels:

According to some studies, it is being suggested that soy helps in lowering cholesterol levels in the human body. On the contrary, the soy supplements didn’t have such miraculous effects on cholesterol as compared to the soy foods, which is quite obvious. In a different study, researchers observed that having an average intake of soy of around 47 grams leads to a 9.3% decrease in the cholesterol levels in the body. Moreover, fiber plays a vital role in reducing cholesterol by help of soy. If you do not want to put your heart health at risk, then start consuming soy products and keep your heart happy and healthy. 

  • Soy affects fertility in women:

there is a lot of controversy as to how soy affects fertility, whether in a good sense or not? In one research, it was noted that consuming soy during undergoing fertility treatment has seen an improved result for women. While on the other hand, a study suggested that it had a protective effect against BPA which is a chemical found in plastic and it does not lead to a positive effect on women’s fertility. Another review report said that if you consume high amounts of soy then it can modify the reproductive hormone levels and impact the ovarian function negatively. 

  • Responsible for reducing menopause symptoms:

symptoms like hot flashes are common during menopause due to the decrease in estrogen levels in the body. As soy acts as a natural estrogen provider, it can benefit a lot during menopause in women. According to a review reported, the estrogen levels were high in postmenopausal women by 14% who were consuming soy supplements. Moreover, in a different report it was stated that women who took an average dose of 54 mg of soy for 12 weeks had 20.6% lesser hot flashes. The statistics doesn;’t really help in reaching a fixed conclusion so it’s up to you if you desire to consume soy or not during menopause. 

Negative health impacts of soy are as follows: 

  • Affects digestive health:

The soybean agglutinins which are a type of antinutrient negatively affect digestive health by having its influence on the structure and the barrier function of the gut. It can also disrupt the functioning of the microbiome which is a group of bacteria that stays in the digestive tract. Soybean has some other anti nutrients also found in it which could impact the process of digestion. Overall, soy is a good product but because of the presence of these antinutrients, it shows harmful properties for the digestive system of a human body.  

  • Affects male sex hormones:

As soy contains phytoestrogens, men should think twice before keeping it in their diet on a regular basis. Still there is no direct effect on the production of testosterone in males due to soy consumption. The good news is that soy may lower the risk of prostate cancer in men, specifically. According to a study, if consumption of soy was high then it was linked to lowered risk of such diseases. 

Soy has its positive and negative effects on health just the way a coin has two sides. So, we cannot clearly define the level of consumption for a balanced diet but one should take it as per their body needs. If you notice any negative impacts on the body then consult your doctor and get the matter cleared out. Sufficient amounts of soy in the diet will keep you healthy and bless you with a longer life. 

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