Soy products such as tempeh, tofu, soy milk, and soy yogurt are gracing the grocery store aisles. But I’m sure you’ve heard of all the controversy: one day soy is a health food, the next day it causes breast cancer. What’s the scientific lowdown on soy?
Soy is actually the premier source of isoflavones which may protect against ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and multiple myeloma. What’s more - breast cancer survivors who eat soy foods seem to have a lower rate of cancer recurrence. So the fuss about soy causing breast cancer is widely false, it’s very helpful for women’s health. One study showed that one cup of soy milk daily was associated with up to 38% lower mortality among breast cancer patients.
Estrogen containing drugs (mostly taken by menopausal women) may increase the risk of endometrial cancer by ten-fold but foods such as soy which contain phytoestrogen protect against endometrial cancer. Another study showed that women who ate soy regularly have 30% less risk of endometrial cancer.
More good news: menopausal women who increased phytoestrogen in their diets by eating soy found that it helped reduce hot flashes! The phytoestrogens also boost bone mineral density, protecting against osteoarthritis. People who consume soy products have a lower bone fracture risk.
If calcium is a worry, soy milks contain the same amount of calcium and double the antioxidant content compared to cows milk.
The icing on the cake? Studies found that soy consumption was also associated with reducing wrinkles, lowering cholesterol, increasing feelings of well-being, and helping with abdominal fat storage.
The verdict: like most nutrition controversies, the theory that soy is bad or causes breast cancer is simply unfounded. But if you choose to consume soy, make sure to choose organic, non GMO soy products.