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Soy has been known as a nutrient-dense food and an excellent source of protein. Dieticians and nutritionists have recommended it for years and share the several health benefits of micronutrients and essential amino acids that it contains. It also has fiber and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. In spite of all the goodness, soy has some myths associated with it and let’s stay informed about it:
Men should not eat soy.
Fact: This thought is completely untrue and has erupted from the concern about the estrogen like properties of soy. There is a common misinformation among people that it could decrease testosterone levels in men. There is no clinical research to support this thought and no scientific evidence to stop men from consuming soy. In fact, dietary soy may decrease the risk of prostate cancer in some men.
Soy doesn’t contain enough protein.
Fact: Soy is protein-packed and has all the essential amino acids that our bodies require. Soy milk contains almost the same amount of protein as cow milk but has 60% less saturated fat than cow milk. It is a better and healthier choice to make.
Soy causes breast cancer.
Fact: Soy has been used for centuries as a staple food in Asian countries and recorded much lower breast cancer rates than in the US. Studies show there was a decrease in the risk of breast cancer rather than increase. You must remember that consuming soy could actually help protect against initial breast cancer development, recurrence and breast cancer mortality.
Most people are allergic to soy.
It is very rare to have a genuine soy allergy. Soy allergies are not higher than 0.2% and can even be as low as 0.1%. There are more people with shellfish allergy and a peanut allergy.
Soy will affect fertility.
There are no reports that suggest soy affects fertility. A large-scale study shows that women, who consumed soy, experienced improved birth rates while undergoing fertility treatment. Men on the other hand showed there are no negative impacts of soy on fertility.
Soy products are only for vegans and vegetarians.
This is definitely not true because most people, from meat-eaters to vegans, can benefit from soy in their diets. Soy is an affordable source of high-quality plant-based protein and you don’t necessarily have to be vegan or a vegetarian to enjoy soy products.
The benefits of Soy that cannot be overpowered by the myths:
Unlike most plant protein, soy has all nine essential amino acids you need for overall good health. These are compounds your body cannot make and require animal protein like beef, chicken, and eggs. Soy provides health benefits like:
Promotes healthy heart
Only 10%-15% of the total fat in soybeans is saturated compared to the huge fat content in animal protein sources. This type of fat usually turns solid at room temperature and may raise your risk of heart disease.
The presence of good fats
Most of the fats in soy are polyunsaturated, including important omega-6 and omega-3 fats. These fats are good for your heart and lower the chances of certain diseases.
Like all vegetables and grains, soy foods are naturally cholesterol-free. Including soy in your diet can help lower the bad cholesterol by 4%-6%.
Soybeans have about 10 grams of fiber per cup compared to 0 grams in animal proteins like steak, chicken, and fish. High fiber in soy helps lower the cholesterol you get from other foods.
Loads of Potassium
Your body requires potassium to do a lot of things like allowing your heart to beat, your kidneys to filter waste, and for your nerves to work. Soy is loaded with potassium and must be included in your diet.
Iron helps your blood deliver oxygen throughout your body and it is an essential mineral that soy provides you.
Eases blood pressure
Having soy regularly will help you avoid high blood pressure, hypertension and significantly reduces the chances of having a stroke.
Provide stronger bones
Some women can lose a lot of bone mass after menopause. That makes your bones more brittle and isoflavone, which is found in soy foods may help strengthen bones in women who are dealing with menopause.
It is important to note that any particular food must be eaten in moderation and too much of anything may cause adverse effects. When you choose healthier alternatives and make wholesome lifestyle changes, be careful about the servings of soy in a day’s meal. Soy milk is a great choice for people who are lactose intolerant; you may add it to soups, salads and smoothies as well.