Soy has been a highly debated topic. Here are some quick points around the pro’s and con’s for you.
- As a rule of thumb, it needs to be organic. In Japan, one of the healthiest places on earth, soy is a prevalent staple because it is non-GMO. GMO soy kills off good bacteria and could lead to a lot of the diseases we are trying to avoid.
- The healthiest form of soy is fermented soy, such as natto, miso, and tempeh. These are each rich in probiotics as well as fiber, iron, magnesium, protein, and zinc. They are known as a “powerhouse of nutrition” for their benefits of increasing immunity, treating gastrointestinal conditions, and fighting cancer (1).
- Non-fermented soy, like soy-milk and tofu, contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones. According to Michael Greger, M.D., soy seems to have both anti-estrogen and pro-estrogenic effects (3). Phytoestrogens are found in many foods, and the soy plant is a particularly rich in them. In another study, phytoestrogens have been found to act as hormone and estrogen blockers (1).
- Dr. T. Colin Campbell has found that eating legumes, mostly as soy, is associated with lower blood cholesterol levels and lower heart disease rates. He also noted that soy consumption benefits the kidneys, and that soybeans contain more than 100% of the dietary requirement for amino acids. They are the only beans that are considered a “complete” protein (2).
As summarized by Dr. Campbell, “On one hand it seems okay if someone wants to eat a lot of soy products, but on the other hand, it seems much more preferable to eat a variety of plant proteins. Variety is important here, and plant matter is what really counts. The diet mostly or entirely comprised of foods of plant origin is still the one that possesses ever more nutritional gems to sustain optimum health” (2).
There is of course a lot more information on this topic. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.
Thankfully we are getting a variety of fresh, plant based, organic meals from The Planted Table!
In your corner,
1 Dr. Axe
2 Dr. T. Colin Campbell
3 Dr. Michael Greger