Thursday, January 27, 2011
Soy: The Good and The Bad
There is so much hype about soy and soy products. Many of us consider soy to be a healthy alternative to dairy and meat without fully knowing the truth behind it. Yes, soy can be healthy but only in its fermented forms such as natto, miso, and soy sauce. These naturally fermented forms of soy help prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer because they are rich in isoflavones which are believed to help in cancer prevention.
In contrast, non-fermented soy products found at your grocery stores including soy milk and tofu have a completely different chemical and nutritional structure from the fermented soy products. Non-fermented soy products have a compound called phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient – it binds to the nutrients in your gut and prevents absorption of these. Additionally, research has found that soy inhibits iron absorption, increases the risk of bladder cancer, and has been even linked to peanut allergies.
Did you know that most processed foods contain harmful unfermented soy products such as soy bean oil and lecithin? This means, even if you are avoiding soy milk, tofu, and meatless soy burgers, but having processed foods, you may still be ingesting soy.