Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Soy Foods: Possibly for Girls Only

Some people think soy is a great plant-based protein option, but what are the dangers of eating soy? Learn about the risks and benefits, plus some ways to consume soy safely.

soy beans and soy milk

Why do we eat soy?

With the rise in popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets, soy has stepped onto the scene as a source of plant-based protein. Those who don’t eat meat praise the protein content of soy. One cup of boiled soybeans contains about 29 grams of protein which is comparable to a serving of meat. Soy also contains vitamins and minerals such as copper and phosphorus.

However, other people denounce soy as dangerous or, at the least, not optimal for frequent consumption. The Paleo movement in particular, has helped highlight the dangers of eating soy, ranging from the phytoestrogens present in soy to the high levels of antinutrients in soy.

Where are soy and soy products in our food?

In the United States, soy is most commonly consumed as a replacement for animal products, as an emulsifier in processed foods, or in soy sauce. You’ll also find soy in these common products:

  • Soy-based infant formula, as a replacement for breast milk or milk-based formula
  • Chocolate bars, processed foods, and some supplements as soy lecithin used to preserve shelf life and improve texture
  • Tempeh and tofu, as a replacement for meat
  • Soy milk, as a replacement for dairy milk
  • Condiments such as soy sauce or miso paste used to add flavor to traditional Asian dishes
  • Natto and edamame, as snacks or side dishes
  • Soy protein isolate, as plant-based protein powder, either used alone as a powder supplement or used in protein bars/bites/etc.
  • Processed and conventional meat: even though soy is used as a meat alternative, it has also been used as a filler in processed meat and the diets of conventionally-raised animals are often supplemented with GMO soy feed.

What is the controversy surrounding soy?

Soy is controversial for a few different reasons, the most common being the isoflavones present in soy (see below for more information). Soy is also one of the top 8 allergens in the United States–such a highly allergenic food invites controversy, whether founded or not, unto itself.

Other controversial characteristics of soy include GMOs, antinutrients, and goitrogens. Here is some more in-depth information about each controversial characteristic of soy.

1. Isoflavones (phytoestrogens)

Isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens, are particularly concentrated in soy. These natural compounds have a chemical structure similar to the human hormone known as estrogen; thus, they can attach to estrogen receptor sites in the human body and affect natural estrogen production and metabolism.

Having excess estrogen in the body can have an array of health consequences. These include, but are not limited to: breast cancer (though some research indicates a lower risk of breast cancer in women who consume soy), estrogen dominance, acne due to imbalanced hormones, endometriosis, male infertility(though more research is needed), and–in rare cases–gynecomastia (male breast growth).

The possible manipulation of estrogen as a result of eating soy or soy products is a big potential danger of eating soy. The harmful effects may be exacerbated with non-organic, highly processed forms of soy.

2. GMOs

As much as 80% of soybean production in the United States comes from genetically modified soybeans. GMOs were only introduced to the public food supply in 1994 and there has been no opportunity to conduct long-lasting studies of the effects of GMO-containing diets. We do not have credible information on the safety of GMOs, which has led many people to forgo consuming GMO foods completely.

3. Antinutrients

Soy, like other legumes, is high in phytic acid. Phytic acid is an antinutrient, meaning it is the plant’s natural protective system that impedes the absorption of nutrients when consumed.

If you’re eating soy for the high levels of nutrients, some of them are bound to antinutrients and are therefore unavailable to your body. Antinutrients can even bind to other minerals and vitamins present in your body, leaching them from you. Soy also contains protease inhibitors, which inhibit the metabolism of certain types of proteins.

4. Goitrogens

Soy contains naturally higher levels of goitrogens, which can interfere with proper thyroid function when consumed in excess.

What are the possible benefits of eating soy foods?

tofu veggie soup bowl

Some health experts encourage the consumption of soy for its health benefits. Like most foods, there are both downsides and upsides to consuming soy. Keep in mind that when consuming soy, you’ll get the most nutrient density from organic, non-GMO soy in its whole form.

Here are some commonly perceived benefits of eating soy and the associated research.

1. Possible Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

Some research has shown that females who consume soy prior to and during pre-adolescent breast development have a lower risk for breast cancer later in life.

2. Lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol)

Though soy has been touted as beneficial for lowering high levels of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the amount is indirect and not significant. The FDA has revoked the claim that soy is beneficial for lowering LDL levels.

3. High in nutrients

Soy is particularly high in iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.

4. Lowers blood pressure

There is data to suggest that soy is hypotensive, meaning it helps lower blood pressure, and therefore can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Safer soy consumption recommendations

If you have digestive issues such as leaky gut or gut dysbiosis or autoimmune disorder, consider avoiding all soy altogether.

If you choose to incorporate soy into your diet, it’s best to be sure you’re consuming it in moderation and that you’re getting high quality, properly prepared soy. Ideally, the soy you consume should be:

  • Organic: at least 80% of soy in the United States is genetically modified, but you can avoid both GMOs and heavy pesticide use by choosing certified organic soy
  • Soaked/sprouted: like all legumes and beans, the digestibility of soy can be improved through soaking and/or sprouting. This traditional method of preparation lowers antinutrients and makes it easier to digest (though a significant amount of the antinutrients still remain.)
  • Fermented: fermented soy products like tempeh and natto offer an impressive nutrient profile, probiotics, and increased digestibility.
  • Whole: avoid soy protein isolates, which contain all of the isoflavones and antinutrients with none of the vitamins and minerals. Soy protein isolate is notoriously difficult to digest.

The moderate benefits of properly prepared, well-sourced soy do not outweigh the potential risks of digestive distress, hormonal imbalance, and nutrient depletion for those with compromised health. Avoiding soy in your diet can free you to include more nutrient-dense foods and help you avoid the risks associated with eating soy.

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/

 

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Popular Asthma Rx May Not Work

Popular Asthma Rx May Not Work

News Picture: For Many With Mild Asthma, Popular Rx May Not Work: Study

A widely used type of asthma medication may not work in more than half of patients who are prescribed it, new research shows.

Inhaled corticosteroids, which are designed to reduce airway inflammation, are recommended for all patients with persistent asthma.

But this medication’s effectiveness may be limited to a type of inflammation that occurs in far fewer patients than once thought, according to the researchers.

For the study, which was funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, investigators compared the use of an inhaled steroid called mometasone (Nasonex) to a placebo in 295 patients over 12 years of age with mild persistent asthma.

The patients were grouped according to the level of eosinophils (Eos), a type of white blood cell, in their phlegm. In all, 73% were “Eos low” — about 50% more than the researchers expected. The remaining 27% were “Eos high.”

Among those who were Eos low, there was no significant difference in response to mometasone versus the placebo. And about 66% did as well or better on the placebo, the findings showed.

Eos-high patients were nearly three times more likely to respond to the inhaled steroid than to the placebo (74% versus 26%), according to the study published May 19 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One lung expert noted inhaled steroids have been used to treat asthma for decades.

“Aerosolized steroids revolutionized the treatment of asthma in the 1990s, and so it is curious to come upon a study wherein more than half of asthmatics studied responded to aerosolized steroid no better than placebo,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. But he noted that accurately measuring Eos levels in the phlegm can be difficult.

The researchers also looked at use of a medication called tiotropium (Spiriva), which is prescribed along with inhaled steroids. Tiotropium relaxes the muscles that tighten around the airways in asthma.

Though there was not enough evidence to conclude that patients prescribed tiotropium are likely to do better, the results suggested that alternatives to inhaled steroids should be studied further, the researchers said.

“The take-home message is that many patients have a pattern of inflammation that makes them less likely to respond to inhaled steroids,” explained study first author Dr. Stephen Lazarus. He’s a professor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“Doctors should consider this if patients are not responding, rather than just increasing the dose,” he suggested in a university news release.

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

WordPress:  https://healthandwellnessassociates.co/