Soy contains phytoestrogens, that can bind to the estrogen receptors in the cells and act ‘like’ the hormone estrogen. This can have both positive and negative effects on the human body, depending on many factors such as:
- Gut health: a good balance of bacteria in the intestines is required to metabolise soy so that it is useful to the body
- How the soy has been processed: Unfermented soy products can affect endocrine function, reproductive function and mineral absorption. Many of the soy proteins found in vegetarian processed foods, protein bars, ‘natural food bars’ contains soy protein that has been bathed in a chemical known as ‘Hexane’
- Organic… Does not mean its any better. Organic soy products such as tofu and soy cheese may not be fermented correctly and so pose risk to our health.
- Soybeans contain phytates: these are molecules that bind to minerals in the digestive tract and inhibit their absorption. Calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are involved here. Also soybeans are one of the highest phytate containing foods out of the grains and legumes and does not change when we use different cooking methods such as cooking slowly. Only well planned fermentation removes these negative substances.
- Soy contains goitrogens: These are found in our foods such as brassica family vegetables and soy products. They influence thyroid hormones and and interfere with iodine metabolism. This affects our thyroid hormones.
- May have positive influences on our health however the products we commonly consume as soy such as TOFU and soy milk are not the fermented type and are often genetically modified. Suggestions for health benefits include osteoporosis (where this is a drop in the female hormone estrogen), menopause and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
These days we are consuming FAR too much soy and often times the unfermented type, which raises the estrogen effects within the body (by binding to the receptors). With this comes estrogen dominance and in males this may affect fertility, in females also affecting their fertility and causing hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction.
Along with this, the phytates in these soy foods, bind to our minerals in the digestive track which can cause mineral imbalances. An example would be too little magnesium which causes symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, irritability, muscle cramping, headaches/migraines and sleep disturbance.
Where is soy hidden?
- Almost ALL bread in the supermarket contains soy
- Chocolates (soy lecithin)
- Soy protein and soy isolated protein often found in protein bars and protein drinks
- Mayonnaise (soy lecithin)
Dairy intolerant? – What are some healthy alternatives to milk and cheese if you’re currently using SOY milk?
- Almond milk; Preferably homemade. Check out this recipe! https://iquitsugar.com/recipe/almond-milk/
- Coconut milk: coconuts contain vitamin C, E, B1, B3, B5, B6, Iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus smoothies or even on top of berries. This milk may be a popular choice for vegans and vegetarians. Stirred through your morning coffee or put through a delicious curry! http://www.marksdailyapple.com/coconut/#axzz3q0ceSN4v
- Try Cashew cheese for an awesome cheese alternative if you’re not allergic to nuts http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/recipes/raw_vegan_cashew_cheese This recipe is full of fibre, Unsaturated fatty acids and prebiotic foods. A great one for balancing gut bacteria and supporting a healthy digestive system. The parsley added in to this recipe provide a punch of flavonoids (flavones and carotenes) to support the immune system, cardiovascular health and live detoxification.
EMpower Fitness and Nutrition