So what is Soy? To answer these questions and give you an overview over its health benefits, we have to get a bit into biology and chemistry. But don’t worry we make it easy.
These beans are called Edamame and are delicious when cooked. (Edamame should not be eaten raw on a regular basis as it can have negative health effects on the pancreas.)
What is Soy used for besides supplements? It is a great food sourcebecause of its many nutrients. Its high protein (40% by weight) and low cholesterol content makes it a great protein choice. Additionally it is veryhigh in fiber and contains a lot of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acid(linoleic acid), another healthy nutrient.
The dried beans are made into soy milk and numerous other foods, such as tofu (bean curd), meat substitutes, ice cream and noodles. The flour can be used for baking but you can’t substitute it for wheat flour because it contains no gluten.
Its by-products are used as an inexpensive additive in numerous processed foods due to its high protein content. Even the buns used by Burger King and McDonald’s contain soy. Because of its many uses as a food or industrial product it is now a major crop in the United States.
In the context of menopause and hot flashes, the question: “What is Soy?” immediately leads us to the Isoflavones. Isoflavones are antioxidants and a form of natural estrogen or phytoestrogen. The phytoestrogens in soya are thought to either enhance or reduce the effects of estrogen in our body.
This is important for menopausal women because during the different stages of menopause you have either estrogen dominance or estrogen deficiency with the corresponding symptoms.
Isoflavones are available as supplements in pill or powder form.
Health Benefits of Soy
Soy is an excellent source of dietary protein, and includes all essential amino acids. It is also a good source of lecithin, important for the health of cells. Soy isoflavones and lecithin have been studied scientifically for numerous health conditions. Most studies that have shown benefits have used whole soy protein rather than supplements or extracts.
A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality summarized the current knowledge of health benefits of soy. It concluded that only a small benefit on LDL and tryglycerides has been found, which contradicts the FDA recommendation of Soya for the reduction of Cholesterol.
With regards to the benefits for post-menopausal women, they said it MAYreduce menopause symptoms.
Dr. Christiane Northrup mentions that soya will return vaginal moisture if taken for several months in higher than recommended doses. It can also help with mood swings, PMS symptoms, migraine headaches, and irregular periods. She is a strong advocate of taking only whole soy, rather than supplements.
In What Amount Is Soy Bad for You?
The daily amount that is recommended as safe and effective varies with the product, the manufacturer and the professional source. So is Soy bad for you? It depends on the amount, the length of time and the products. We are giving you two resources we consider trustworthy:
Dr. Christiane Northrup recommends 100 to 160mg/day of soy per day to get significant benefits and relief from menopause symptoms, which is higher than the daily recommended dose from other sources. She recommends whole soy or a powdered protein made from whole soy that can be mixed with water, milk or juice.
Here is the information from Medline Plus regarding the amount that is regarded safe for adults:
|“Soy is typically consumed as a protein drink, soy flour, isolated soy protein (e.g. Supro®), extract, fiber/cereal, or milk beverage. Studies have examined the effects of 10-106 grams of soy with an isoflavone content of about 40-120 milligrams taken daily for up to 12 months by mouth.A dose of 20-106 grams of soy protein taken daily by mouth has been studied in people with high cholesterol. Isoflavone content has ranged from 60 to over 100 milligrams daily. Cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels have been reduced in people using these doses of soy protein.There is limited study of soymilk (400 milliliters daily) in pre-menopausal women, with reported benefits on cholesterol levels. Additional doses have been studied but are not recommended due to a lack of available scientific evidence.”|
Based on our research into: “What is Soy”, we believe thatyou should not use soy products in higher than recommended doses for long periods of time. But most important, use a product that at least delivers the amount of soy that is promised on the label (over ¾ of all soy products have less soya than the label promises). Because otherwise you would not even know how much soy you are really getting.
So the answer to “What is Soy” depends entirely on the different uses. It can be a food source, an industrial product, or a natural remedy for hot flashes and menopause symptoms.
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