Aren’t we all trying to be a little healthier these days? Chances are that every now and then you start to think that you should eat a little better and exercise a little more. We have all been there. But, there are so many health fads and crash diets that are alluring.So, how do we know what works and what is just a trend?
One major health craze is that of opting for soy instead of dairy. You can find soybeans, soy milk, and so many more soy products in all of grocery stores. So, are these soy products healthy for you? Let’s explore the world of soy.
Origins And History Of Soy
All soy products are derived from the soybean. The soybean is native to East Asia, and is mostly popular for being an edible bean with many different uses. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization has classified the soybean plant as an oilseed.
General uses for soy include soy milk, soy vegetable oil, soy sauce, fermented bean paste, edamame and tempeh.
Soybeans naturally include large amounts of phytic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, and isoflavones. This seems insignificant, but this will play a major role in determining whether or not soy is healthy.
It is significant to note that we can differentiate three different levels of soy. We have our whole, organic type soy that is of high quality. Then we have what many dieticians refer to as “Frankensoy,” as it is a jumble of soy products and others infused. And, then there are really crappy GMO-processed versions of soy.
As much as you think soy might be a healthy food, you really have to look at the type of soy you are purchasing to ultimately make that decision.
The Pros And Cons Of Soy
Oh boy, it’s soy – and many people ask, is it healthy, or can it cause cancer? Here are the pros and cons of soy.
The Pros Of Soy
1. Soy Is Great For Other Parts Of The Body, Too
Scientists have proven that soy is highly beneficial for heart health. Eating foods rich in isoflavones, such as soy products, helps young adults achieve lower blood pressure.
This is because isoflavones promote the body’s production of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is responsible for dilating blood vessels and reducing the pressure creating by blood against these vessel walls.
2. Soy Has Many Healthy Ingredients
Foods made using whole soybean contain optimal levels of protein and fiber. Fiber helps to reduce bad cholesterol, and protein keeps the heart and muscles happy.
For anyone looking to consume adequate protein without eating meat, soy offers a fantastic alternative. There are many different ways to cook with soy.So, you are sure to find something that suits your culinary tastes.
3. It Helps Keep Other Countries Healthy
Soy has always been a major part of the traditional Japanese diet. Natives from Okinawa consume more soy in their diets than any other people around the world.
Coincidentally, those from Japan boast low rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia and breast cancer compared to Americans. However, many people claim that the Japanese have these health benefits due to other reasons, such as living by the Hara Hachi rule.
4. Soy Also Helps Treat And Prevent Menopausal Symptoms
Many studies are indicating that the isoflavones found in soy help to improve many notable vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes.
This is because of the cognitive benefits that isoflavones have on our body.
The increase in isoflavones improves neurological functioning, and thus our body can better handle these drastic fluctuations in hormones. Handling this fluctuation better allows for a decrease in unsavory symptoms, such as hot flashes and memory loss.
5. Soy Can Help Fight Osteoporosis
Recently, a study was conducted with a large group of women to determine how soy consumption relates to bone health.
The results showed that isoflavones, particularly genestein, worked to lessen bone loss.
Researches gave these women approximately three cups of soymilk, six ounces of tofu or tempeh, or three ounces of dry roasted soybeans per day.
6. Soy Helps Protect Against Many Cancers
The isoflavones found in soy have non-hormonal effects on the body that prove to be beneficial.
These effects including regulating cell growth, which in turn actually helps to reduce the chances of many different types of cancers.
As we have mentioned before, these isoflavones also help to reduce the risk of any heart diseases as they control cholesterol levels. Many studies conducted show that the countries who consume the most soy, mostly many Asian countries, tend to have lower statistics for those countries afflicted with breast cancer.
The Cons Of Soy
7. All Good Things In Moderation
The Japanese do indeed eat quite a bit of soy.But, they also balance their soy intake in addition to watching their overall caloric intake.
By practicing Hara Hachi, those who follow a traditional Japanese diet never fall victim to overeating. This is something that most Americans stereotypically do not follow.
As with most things, if you are going to eat soy, it has to be in a controlled amount.
8. Soy Contains Estrogen
As scientists have pointed out, breast cancer is directly related to estrogen levels. So, eating a food that is high in estrogen can cause cancer then, right?
Not exactly. Soy does indeed contain isoflavones, a group of natural plant chemicals that are present in most legumes, grains and vegetables. However, soybeans are actually offering us the most concentrated form of isoflavones.
Isoflavones attach to estrogen receptors, which causes similar effects as estrogen.But, not nearly as strong as animal-based estrogen.Human estrogen is well over 1,000 times stronger than the estrogen found in soy.
9. Soy Is A Common Allergen
Unfortunately, anyone looking to consume more soy should begin gradually. Many people claim to be allergic to soy.
Allergic reactions can be so severe as to put one in anaphylaxis.So, knowing your allergies is quite important.
Organic, non GMO soy does appear to work better for those with allergies. But be advised to take it easy when reintroducing soy into your diet.
10. Watch The Kind Of Soy You Are Purchasing
Leave it to some food manufacturers to find a way to take the healthy out of soy. Instead of offering all whole and organic versions of soy, there are now amalgamations that include little bits of soy. So, they appear healthy, but in fact these foods are packed with processed junk and GMOs.
Don’t get us wrong, soy is healthy as long as you are consuming the right kind of soy. Red flags for soy buyers should on be the label. Processed foods, frozen foods and anything that has a long shelf life are usually all indications of heavily-modified foods.
Instead, purchase soybeans and eat them as edamame, or look for quality tofu. Tofu is also relatively inexpensive.
Also, you can use it to prepare many different dishes, such as stir fries and substitutions for popular dishes, like regular French fries and burgers.
The debate behind soy still continues. If you are going to give soy a go, then make sure to find quality soy products. In addition, do not consume more soy than your doctor recommends.
If, however, we have not entirely sold you on the soy debate, then have no fear. Here are some other options for you to still to reach desirable breast health, sans the soy.
Other Strategies For Healthy Breasts
If eating soy to become healthy is really not up your alley, then there are other options for you. Let’s discuss some more ways to achieve optimal breast health. They include:
- Eat Cleaner In Other Ways
Improving your diet does not necessarily mean funnel as much soy as you possibly can. Instead, look to include more leafy greens, vegetables and fruits into your diet.
- Exercise More
Moving your body more will work wonders for your health, including breast health. Women who live active lifestyles are at a lower risk of developing breast cancer, especially when exercise is paired with a healthy diet.
- Catch Some Well-Needed Zzzzs
Sleep is vital for health in general. Without adequate sleep, our bodies cannot function properly. Ensure that you are sleeping for the recommended eight hours a night. If this is not possible for you, then try to take a nap in the middle of the day or do your best to fall into a preferable circadian rhythm.
- Opt For Breastfeeding
Well, this one will require pregnancy. So, do make certain to only follow this one if you are, indeed, pregnant. Breastfeeding is healthy for your boobs, contrary to popular belief.
Studies show that women who breastfeed longer than the recommended six months are at a much lower risk of developing breast cancer as compared to women who stopped after the six month mark.
Your body reduces its exposure to estrogen while breastfeeding. As we have mentioned, estrogen has a tendency to promote the growth of cancerous cells.So, eliminating exposure to estrogen is beneficial for your breasts.
- Proper Supplementation
Consulting the help of a supplement is nothing to be embarrassed about, because most women can benefit greatly from proper supplementation, especially when it comes to breast health. Effective breast enhancement products, such as those from www.TotalCurve.com can work wonders for a woman’s breasts.
Breast health is both achievable and nothing to be afraid of for all women. Educate yourself and begin to find a healthier you today, regardless of your life stage. If you want to give soy a try, be wise about it, and ask your doctor how much the right amount is for you. Everything in moderation, as they say.