Can Soy Give You Breast Cancer?
Soy – you either hate em’ or absolutely love em’, there’s really no in between. Soy-based products are famous among the vegan and vegetarian diet. But are soy products actually good for you?
..or should you avoid it?
Soy increases the risk of breast cancer
Alright, in 1991, a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that soybeans contain potentially anti-carcinogenic benefits which has a protective effect against cancer. However in 1996, a pilot study published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention, suggested that consuming soy protein might actually stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells because it contains isoflavones.
Soy can have similar effects to estrogen because the isoflavones binds to the estrogen receptors. According to a medical oncologist, “There are two estrogen receptors (in the human body): alpha and beta. Alpha is the bad one. That’s the one where, if something binds to alpha, it may increase the risk of breast cancer, because it makes breast cells grow. But beta, on the other hand, it causes the opposite effect. Soy isoflavones bind preferentially to estrogen receptor beta”.
Not only that, studies also indicates that women in regions where soy are primarily consumed, most in the Asian countries like Japan and China, experiences lower cancer rates than women who consume Western diets. So soy doesn’t actually contribute to breast cancer!
Soy is bad if you have thyroid
This is so true! Consuming soy could be dangerous if you already have an existing thyroid problem and are on medication for thyroid. Soy products may interfere with how the body absorbs the medication in the G! tract. But if you don’t have thyroid issues, you’re all good with soy!
Soy is dangerous for your heart
The isoflavones can help young adults lower their blood pressure, by encouraging the body to produce nitric oxide. This helps to dilate blood vessels and reduce the pressure created by blood against the vessel walls. So soy is actually good for your heart.
Whole soy foods contain high levels of healthy protein and fiber which helps to reduce bad cholesterol.
Avoid processed soy products
Processed forms of soy like soy burgers and soy energy bars may not be the best choice because the nutrients found from the soy are stripped away. This includes processed “frakensoy” products like frankfurters, steak strips and cheese. These products are loaded with added sugars, fats and refined flours. Probably isn’t something that you want to put in your body if you’re opting for the healthy lifestyle.
Stick to whole soy foods
Your best bet when it comes to eating soy-based food are edamame, tofu and fermented soy foods. Fermented food are great because it allows microbes to work on the food and grow in it. These microbes make amino acids, variety of fatty acids and a lot of vitamins. Tofu are high in omega-3 fats which ensure normal brain function and lowers the risks of dementia. Whereas, edamame are a great source of protein.
Know your soy milk
Soy milk is basically the liquid residue of cooked soybeans. However most of the soy milks sold in the market are not made with real soy beans. The best soy milk are fresh soy milk, but if you’re having trouble with looking for fresh soy milk, choose whole bean soy milk. Avoid purchasing soy milk made from soy protein or soy isolate. You will also want to check the label for hidden or added sugars. Look for “brown rice syrup” or “evaporated cane juice” – especially if they are one of the first ingredients listed. One cup of this kind of soymilk can easily wind up being 100 calories more than a cup of skim milk. Yikes!
The key is of course to consume in moderation. Just recently, a 36-year-old woman from the USA was left unable to speak, swallow or move her limbs due to brain damage sustained as a result of drinking a litre of soy sauce.