Soybeans are among the most widely used, affordable and least caloric ways to ingest large amounts of protein with very little fat and no cholesterol. Soy is also the main source of protein for billions of people around the world.
But some doctors are concerned about the safety of soy, since it contains a protein called isoflavone, which can act like a weak estrogen in the body. However, this protein is much stronger in concentrated soy products, such as powders and pills, compared to soy foods, such as tofu, soymilk and soybeans themselves (a.k.a., edamame).
So before we dive in, let’s keep things in perspective: Soy is NOT a major risk factor for breast cancer. At most, there is a concern about soy foods and a worry about soy products. Current studies are starting to figure out how the many different compounds in soy affect our bodies. In general though, most doctors believe that it’s safe to eat a moderate amount of soy foods, regardless of whether you have a history of breast cancer.
- Soy is promoted as a healthy option for vegetarians or people who want to cut back on foods that come from animals.
- Soymilk is a popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant. Unsweetened soymilk is comparable to cow’s milk in terms of calories, protein and fat, though it contains less sugar. It also provides important nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, along with fiber and potassium.
- Other substances in soy foods are thought to help keep cell growth and activity normal, regulate cholesterol and protect cells from harmful chemicals called free radicals.
Tune in next week to find out if soy is good or bad for breast health!