Soybeans are a common plant product utilized as a protein source. It is often used as a meat replacement for those trying to avoid animal products. It can be found in liquid or solid form. Some common forms of soy include soymilk, vegetable oil, margarine, tofu, miso, tempeh, and soy sauce. A serving of soybeans provides a beneficial amount of protein, carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats. Unlike many other plant proteins, soy provides a complete source of protein, making it a top choice for vegetarians and vegans.
While soy products do contain fat, it is mostly unsaturated fats and these are beneficial for our bodies. Saturated fats can have a negative effect on the body by raising cholesterol levels, but unsaturated fat can decrease cholesterol levels. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are present in soy.
These fatty acids are an important part of the diet that can benefit the body by maintaining a healthy weight and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Soy has also been proven to promote a healthy stomach. It will increase the number of good bacteria while eliminating some of the bad bacteria. Soy has also been linked with reduced risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer based on its levels of phytoestrogen. It can also be beneficial to women who are either currently going through menopause or those who are post-menopausal in reducing symptoms such as hot flashes. While this is a benefit for women, it can be a potential health hazard to men.
The phytoestrogens found is soy are called genistein and daidzein, unfamiliar names that are unlikely to be recognized by the consumer. These are categorized as phytoestrogens because they act so similar to estrogen and provide very similar effects. The FDA recommends 25 grams of soy per day to achieve the desired goals, such as decreased risk of heart disease. However if consumed in higher amounts than recommended, the soy can effect natural hormone levels. This can be dangerous for both men and women, but can change a man’s hormone cycle more severely due to their naturally low levels of estrogen.
As with all foods, it is important to watch the amount of soy you’re consuming and see that you don’t go beyond the recommended amount. Many products such as vegetable oil and margarine are products one wouldn’t assume to have soy, but often times they do. Plant protein powders and supplements can also contain soy, but there are other options without it. Nuts, beans, legumes, and seeds provide a beneficial amount of protein. Greens are often categorized as protein sources as well, but they must be consumed in very high amounts to achieve a healthy level of protein intake. It can be difficult to consume the proper amount without ending with a stomachache, so it is important to add other sources to contribute as well.
In conclusion, when recommended guidelines are not followed properly soy can pose a risk to ones health. In this example, it can vary for men and women. It is important to pay close attention to how much soy is being consumed on a daily basis and be aware of the possible negative effects.