Adding Soy To Your Diet
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers soy to be a source of complete protein. Soy products are the main ingredients in many meat and dairy substitutes that are widely used by vegetarians, vegans, and those seeking a healthier diet. While it has many uses, soy is almost always mentioned when discussing health foods. Soy products are well-known to play an important role in a healthy diet. New health benefits of soy seem to pop up all the time, but occasionally, so do health risks. While possessing both health benefits and risks, the many positives outweigh the possible negatives, and therefore soy is a product that everyone should consider adding to their diets.
Soy products contain all the amino acids essential to nutrition, while containing significantly less fat than animal-based foods, which makes them good substitutes for animal products, according to the FDA. The FDA has also said that soy is a cholesterol-lowering food, and has other heart and health benefits. Additionally, soy is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Many soy foods are high in calcium, making them excellent for good bone health. One cup of tofu, a soy product, contains approximately 20% of the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium intake for adults 19-50 years old. There are studies showing that soy intake may be quite effective in preventing bone loss.
The American Association for Cancer Research recently published a study showing that Asian-American females who eat higher amounts of soy during childhood are 58% less likely to get breast cancer. Many other studies have also shown that regular intake of soy foods helps prevent against breast cancer, in addition to prostate and colon cancers. Along with cancers, research has shown that soy may possibly help prevent health issues such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
Not all soy-related studies are positive though, as some have claimed health risks associated with soy intake. Some studies suggest that soy may actually promote breast cancer cell growth, but mainly in women who currently have breast cancer, have had breast cancer, or are at high risk for breast cancer. For men, some studies have shown that, while protecting against the development of prostate cancer, soy may decrease testosterone levels.
Overall, soy has been shown to be a remarkable product with several health benefits. With the few potential health risks associated with soy, concerned people should speak with a doctor about adding soy to their diets, especially people at high-risk for breast cancer. Despite the few possible health risks, soy has been shown by many studies, and by the FDA, to be a food product that can be an extremely beneficial addition to ones diet.