A few years ago, some vegetarian with a vendetta began touting soy as the new magic super food that could match the protein of meat and cure menopausal symptoms, too. Okay, maybe it wasn't necessarily an angry herbivore, but whoever it was left out a few pieces of information. Soy can be good for balancing estrogen levels, but that is assuming you have an estrogen deficiency, and not a dominance issue.
Proponents of the plant claim a whole slew of other health benefits. There may be a lot of evidence in their favor, but some choose to ignore the warning signs.
Below is some information to consider before adding soy-based meals to your everyday menu.
Common Sources of Soy
Often when people eat soy, they do not eat whole soy beans, unless of course they eat edamame, or whole baby soy beans. Below is a non-exhaustive list of common soy foods.
- Soy milk, yogurt, and cheese
The Debate about Soy
Asian cultures are some of the highest consumers of tofu and other soy products in the world. They also tend to have one of the longest life spans. Many believe soy to contain properties that battle cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Soy is also said to have phytoestrogens that help stimulate estrogen production in menopausal women.
However, as more research is being done on soy, some disagree with these findings and say the exact opposite. Phytoestrogens may actually disrupt endocrine function and could lead to breast cancer and infertility. A lawsuit in Illinois filed by eight male inmates cites the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the cruel and unusual punishment clause, claiming that their diets, which are high in soy content, are causing health problems ranging from constipation to depression. In women, estrogen influences both digestive health and cognition.
Some researchers have found the particular kind of processing done to soy beans influences how soy will be received by the body, and also make a case for organic verses non-organic. Some believe the "heart-healthy" claim made for soy is nothing more than a public relations ploy constructed by the corporate farmers in the United States.
Ask your doctor about supplementing your diet with soy. A popular school of thought says that there is no cause to worry about ingesting whole, organic foods in moderation. However, everyone's body chemistry is different and until you know what your specific hormone levels are, introducing hormone reactive substances into your diet could cause difficulties.
The above is for women in menopause with questions about the effects of soy on their hormone levels, cancer, and heart disease risks. Soy contains estrogen in the form of phytoestrogen. Click on the following link for more information about estrogen foods.