What Are The Benefits Of Eating Soy
Research suggests that soy can be beneficial for women with a history of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and may even reduce their risk for recurrent disease.
Other research has found that soy foods can be protective of a womans bone health, which is important because the risk for osteoporosis increases during menopause. Soy also appears to increase longevity among breast cancer survivors, especially for those who have hormone receptor negative breast cancers.
Lightly steamed edamame with or without salt is a delicious snack. Look for it in the freezer section of your grocery store.
Soy may also have benefits for menopausal symptoms. A 2021 study of postmenopausal women found that when they added half a cup of soybeans to a low-fat plant-based diet had an 84% reduction in moderate to severe hot flashes, from five a day to one. A 2012 analysis of 19 studies found that soy isoflavone reduced hot flash intensity by 26%, compared to a placebo. Another analysis, done in 2015, looked at 10 studies and found that soy isoflavones reduced hot flashes by 11%. Note that soy isoflavones can take from several weeks to months to have these symptom-reducing effects, and they wont necessarily be as significant as hormone therapies.
The most benefit of eating soy has been found when women begin eating it regularly at a younger age, a practice that is more often seen in Asian countries than in the United States.
Key Takeaways: Does Soy Affect Men
- Soy does not turn men into women, cause infertility, prostate cancer, man-boobs, or affect reproductive hormones.
- Similar to whey protein, soy may increase energy and improve recovery time during resistance exercise training and other athletic workouts.
- Isoflavone is a phytoestrogen compound found in soybeans with estrogen-like effects, but these effects are much weaker than estrogen found naturally in the body.
- Isolated soy protein supplements like pills and powders are not as healthy as soy foods and should not be taken for an extended period.
- A balanced diet containing soy may lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar and blood pressure, protect your heart from disease, and may prevent some men from developing prostate cancer.
The Origin Of The Soymilk Myth
One potential origin for this myth is a story from a now-removed 2009 Menâs Health article about a retired U.S. Army Intelligence officer whose breasts became swollen and painful after incorporating soy milk into his daily routine.
The officer, James Price, also lamented the loss of body hair and emotional imbalance.
âIt was like my body was feminizing,â Price told Menâs Health at the time.
As it turns out, Price had been consuming 3-quarts of soymilk a day to replace milk for his lactose intolerance.
This is much higher than the amounts typically consumed in clinical trials evaluating soy, , explains in a 2010 response to the Menâs Health article. Messina is the executive director of the Soy Nutrition Institute and adjunct associate professor at Loma Linda University.
Ultimately, Price was diagnosed with gynecomastia â a condition of overdevelopment or enlargement of the breast tissue in men or boys.
The alleged culprit here is something called isoflavones, or phytoestrogens. In essence, these compounds play the same role in plants that hormonal estrogen plays in the human body. Their role in plants isnât totally understood, but some scientists speculate it may be a defense to control the fertility of grazing mammals â foods rich in isoflavones have been known to impact the fertility of sheep, for example.
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Soy And Cancer Risk: Our Experts Advice
Theres a lot of conflicting information going around about soy: Is it healthy? Is it dangerous? And if its OK to eat, why do some people say it isnt?
Some of the misunderstandings come from the fact that studies in people and studies in animals may show different results. In some animal studies, rodents that were exposed to high doses of compounds found in soy called isoflavones showed an increased risk of breast cancer. This is thought to be because the isoflavones in soy can act like estrogen in the body, and increased estrogen has been linked to certain types of breast cancer.
But rodents process soy differently from people, and the same results have not been seen in people. Also, doses of isoflavones in the animal studies are much higher than in humans. In fact, in human studies, the estrogen effects of soy seem to either have no effect at all, or to reduce breast cancer risk . This may be because the isoflavones can actually block the more potent natural estrogens in the blood.
According to Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, soy foods are healthy and safe. But she advises against taking soy supplements which contain much higher isoflavone concentrations than food until more research is done.
Is Fire Pit Smoke Bad For Your Lungs
When you breathe in smoke, the particles can get deep into your respiratory system. Youve likely experienced the results before stinging eyes, runny nose and coughing. These symptoms are short-lived for most people. But for those with underlying respiratory illnesses, inhaling smoke is dangerous.
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Does Soy Milk Contain Estrogen
Soy milk does not contain estrogen, but it does contain phytoestrogens. These are primarily present in the form of three different isoflavones:
The number of isoflavones in soy milk can be affected by agricultural conditions, the soybean cultivar, and processing. Regardless of the specific concentrations of isoflavones in your glass of soy milk, rest assured that phytoestrogens are not the same as estrogen.
We Maintain The Current Conclusion That Soya Is Beneficial In Preventing Prostate Cancer Catherine Applegate
Throughout the years and despite the constant emergence of new research that could contain potentially conflicting results, we maintain the current conclusion that soya is beneficial in preventing prostate cancer, says the studys author Catherine Applegate, a predoctoral fellow from the University of Illinois’s Tissue Microenvironment Training Program.
Unprocessed soya, like edamame beans, has higher isoflavone levels than processed versions, like soya milk
Soyas benefits also depend on the type we consume. Isoflavone content varies in unprocessed soybeans, such as edamame beans, compared to processed soya foods and the closer the food is to the soyabean, the higher its isoflavone levels. Edamame has around 18mg of isoflavones per 100g, while soya milk has between 0.7 and 11mg.
The only thing we can say is that women should be safe to consume soya foods in amounts consistent with Asian diet, including tofu, fermented soya foods and soymilk, but studies shown that the more soya is processed, the lower the level of isoflavones, which we think are protective elements, says Trock.
Soya has been extensively researched over the last few decades. No single study has been perfect, and as with other nutritional research, findings often show correlation they dont prove causation.
Even so, the consensus clearly indicates health benefits from eating soya even if thats simply because it replaces unhealthier foods.
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Where Does The Confusion About Soy And Breast Cancer Come From
Soy contains nutrients called isoflavones, which have chemical structures that resemble estrogens found in the female body. Because of the confusion around whether soy actually mimicked estrogen in a womans body, the term phytoestrogen was created to describe soy isoflavones.
However, its important to understand that research does not show this similarity strongly enough to suggest that soy is harmful or should be avoided. Phytoestrogens are not the same as estrogen found in the female body, and soy foods dont contain the hormone estrogen. Furthermore, studies show that eating soy foods does not increase the risk of breast cancer or the recurrence of the disease.
Phytoestrogens And Reproduction Health
Phytoestrogens have different effects on the reproductive process. Genistein can stimulate progesterone stimulation in the ovaries, production of estradiol and cAMP production, oocyte maturation and zygote development in the preimplantation stage. Phytoestrogens derived from the green and Indian turmeric can inhibit proliferation, increase apoptosis and affect steroid hormone release by animal ovarian cells. Isoflavones can also change animal sexual development, including changes in puberty, disruption of the oestrous cycle and ovarian function. Several studies suggest that there is an effect of isoflavones contained in infant formula milk on their reproductive development, although phytoestrogen side effects on reproductive health have not been widely reported , .
Phytoestrogens can also suppress the clinical symptoms of menopause caused by a decrease in the production of endogenous estrogen. Administration of 100 mg of isoflavones per day in postmenopausal women can reduce vasomotor symptoms. The advantage of this phytoestrogen is that it does not hurt the breast and endometrium , , . Also, phytoestrogens also do not increase the risk of clotting in postmenopausal women . This causes phytoestrogens to be a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy .
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Effects Of Isoflavones On Mammary/breast Cell Proliferation
Concern over the possible tumor-stimulatory effects of isoflavones is based largely on the proliferative effect of genistein on MCF-7 cells in vitro and in studies of mammary cancer in rodents. A variety of studies have shown that isoflavones stimulate ER+ human breast cancer cell xenoplants in ovariectomized athymic mice , estrogen-dependent mammary tumors in rats , and reproductive tissues in adult female mice . Other research using rodent models has also demonstrated that genistein is the primary isoflavone responsible for tumor stimulation that more processed soy products result in faster tumor growth than less processed soy products and that genistein inhibits the efficacy of tamoxifen, a SERM used in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer .
Even in rodent models, however, isoflavones are generally weak estrogen agonists relative to E2. Most rodent studies use scaled doses at least 5 times the amount found in traditional Asian diets , and many studies have used direct injection of purified isoflavones, which results in substantially higher levels of unconjugated isoflavones than dietary administration . Importantly, the isoflavone dose required for estrogen-like effects in women has yet to be identified despite three decades of study. So although isoflavones clearly act as estrogens in rodent models, relevant dose effects for human consumption are still very unclear.
Why Did My Cup Size Increase After Soymilk
However, we do receive a lot of messages from women claiming their cup size increased after they their intake of soy products. We believe that this effect is due to increased caloric intake. The added sugars in soymilk may indeed increase cup size but at the same time they result in unwanted weight gain.
The added sugars in soymilk may indeed increase cup size but at the same time they result in unwanted weight gain. Surely, your breast will enlarge when you eat a lot of red bean soup, papayas or soya milk but so will do your other body parts. Im a bit late with this answer i guess, but here goes. Ive been reading a lot on soy milk.
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Phytoestrogens And Skin Health
Phytoestrogens can act as antiaging in the skin through estrogen receptors or increased production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and extracellular protein matrix. Also, phytoestrogens can also increase vascularisation of skin, proliferation, prevent skin from oxidative stress and apoptosis. Ageing of the skin can be inhibited by the administration of phytoestrogens .
The protective effects of phytoestrogens on skin health can occur through several mechanisms. It can reduce UV-induced cell death in cultured keratinocytes, improve skin elasticity, increase the depth and increase the production of type 1 procollagen. It offers protection against UV induced senescence by significantly upregulating intracellular SOD activity in a dose-dependent manner. Phytoestrogens also have potent antioxidant effects with strong anti-inflammatory properties . Other studies also proved that the provision of concentrated, isoflavone-rich soy extract during the six consecutive months caused significant increases in epithelial thickness, the number of elastic and collagen fibres, as well as the blood vessels. This study was conducted on 30 postmenopausal women before and immediately after treatment with 100 mg/day of isoflavones-rich, concentrated soy extract for six months .
Soy Phytoestrogens And Body Estrogen Levels
Most research suggests that moderate consumption of soy products, including soy milk, does not affect estrogen levels. This has been shown true among premenopausal women in a large meta-analysis.
In this same analysis, there were also no statistically significant changes among postmenopausal women. There was a slight non-significant increase in estradiol among postmenopausal women that may warrant additional research. Even so, the authors note that the lack of other hormonal changes likely argues against a physiologically important estrogenic effect.”
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What Are Isoflavones
Isoflavones are part of a group of plant-based chemicals called phytoestrogens. These chemicals act like a weaker form of estrogen in the body.
The main isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein. When you eat soy, bacteria in your intestines break it down into its more active forms.
Once in your body, soy isoflavones bind to the same receptors as estrogen. Receptors are like docking stations on the surface of cells. When isoflavones bind to some receptors, they mimic the effects of estrogen. When they bind to other receptors, they block estrogens effects.
When isoflavones mimic estrogen, they might help reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
Dozens of small studies have looked at the effects of soy on menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes and night sweats. So far, the results have been mixed.
What About Soy Milk
What does all this research mean when it comes to pouring out a glass of soy milk or not in the morning? Although research is ongoing, here’s a recap of the key points that come to the forefront when you deal with a nondairy milk substitute instead of concentrated isoflavone or phytoestrogen supplements:
- Soy foods are nutrient-dense, protein-rich, and safe to consume several times a week, as noted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This is reaffirmed by dietitian Kathy McManos, director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in an article in the March 2018 Harvard Health Letter.
- The phytoestrogens in soy products have a milder effect on your body than your own estrogen.
- A growing body of evidence indicates that the phytoestrogens in soy may provide numerous beneficial side effects.
- Soy-based isoflavone/phytoestrogen supplements may have different effects in your body than soy foods, thanks to the supplements’ much higher concentrations of isoflavones.
- There have been some reports of soy supplements generating adverse interactions with prescription medications, or adverse reactions on their own.
But you probably don’t need to talk to your doctor before having a glass of soy milk or pouring it over your cereal unless you suspect you might be allergic, that you may have a hormone-dependent condition or that you might be pregnant and want to confirm the latest research about soy.
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Soy Estrogen And Breast Cancer
The big question for most women wondering whether soy is safe is, can it contribute to breast cancer?
In fact, far from being a breast cancer risk, the Mayo Clinic says that soy is one of the foods that can reduce breast cancer risk. Those who eat plenty of soy products from an early age reduce their risk of breast cancer in later life. This protective effect is less dramatic for women who eat smaller amounts of soy or who start eating soy later in life.
Even if you are a breast cancer survivor, it’s OK to carry on eating soy products and to do so may be beneficial. A June 2017 study in Cancer surveyed more than 6,200 American and Canadian women with breast cancer and found those women who ate the highest amounts of isoflavones had a lower risk of dying from any cause.
Expert advice from the American Cancer Society is that soy foods are healthy and safe. But soy supplements contain much higher isoflavone concentrations than food and aren’t recommended until more research is carried out on them.
Is There Such A Thing As Eating Too Much Soy
The US Soybean Export Council recommended that in adults, 15g soy protein and about 50mg total isoflavones per day, which equates to approximately two servings of traditional soyfoods, is a reasonable daily intake.
Just like any other plant-based protein, eating too much of anything, whether it be beans or even lentils, can be harmful, because consuming too much protein over a long period of time has been shown to increase uric acid levels, which may increase the risk of kidney failure and other renal complications.
As mentioned earlier, there are fewer studies on processed soy products like plant-based meat alternatives and their role in long term health. Thus, eating whole-food sources of soybeans, including soy milk, edamame, tempeh and tofu, may be the best option to experience the full health benefits of soy.
Does Soy Increase Estrogen In Males
But before we proceed, let`s answer a pertinent question.
What is Soy?
Soy is short for soybean or soya bean, a legume native to East Asia and widely cultivated for its edible bean which has multiple uses. Soybean is a popular vegetarian staple because of its high protein content, high unsaturated oil content, and particularly low starch content. Soybeans are processed and consumed in various forms, including
- Cooked Soybeans
- Soy milk
- Textured Soy Product , or foods made from textured soy flour.
So, Does Soy Increase Estrogen in males?
Consuming soy products will increase estrogen levels in everyone male or female. This is because soybeans contain isoflavones genistein and daidzein, which are sources of phytoestrogens in the human diet. Phytoestrogens are estrogens of plant origin. These phytoestrogens bind productively to estrogen receptors in the body, thereby effectively increasing the total estrogen in circulation. Consequently, consuming sufficient quantities of soy products will definitely increase estrogen in males .
But what quantity of Soy is sufficient?
Soybeans are particularly rich in phytoestrogens compared to other legumes like peanuts and chickpeas. These isoflavones have a structure similar to estradiol, the main estrogen produced by womens ovaries.
However, isoflavones are weak estrogens and are anywhere from one ten-thousandth to one one-thousandth as potent as estradiol.
Here are Some Soy-food Serving Suggestions