Savoring Soy.The Versatile Soybean Offers Many Health Benefits
The United States is the world's largest producer of soybeans, although you wouldn't know that from the American diet, which mostly takes in soy from soy sauce. But soy can serve as an alternative to meat or milk, create new organic inks and prevent certain kinds of cancer. Asians have known about these benefits for more than 5,000 years, and they eat it regularly as tofu, as a soup ingredient and in many other forms. Asian immigrants first planted soybeans in the U.S. in the early 1900s. Today, Americans are slowly getting used to the idea of drinking soy milk, substituting soy for meat and eating soy nuts along with their pretzels.
Studies from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR AICR American Institute for Cancer Research (Washington, DC)
AICR Association for International Cancer Research
AICR American International Club of Rome
AICR Atlantic Institute of Clinical Research ) show that diet and lifestyle can reduce our risk of cancer by up to 70 percent. Eating soy, fruits, vegetables, legumes Legumes
A family of plants that bear edible seeds in pods, including beans and peas.
Mentioned in: Cholesterol, High
legumes (l and minimally processed foods greatly reduces cancer risk because these foods are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The AICR says soy's soluble fiber protects us from digestion-related colon and rectal cancer. Soy also helps maintain good health for women and men through its isoflavones isoflavones (īˑ·sō·flāˈ·vōnz),
n.pl phytoestrogenic compounds found in various plants, including red clover and soy. , which may also provide protection from hormone-related cancers, like breast, uterine and prostate cancer.
A high intake of soy may not be a good idea for women who have been diagnosed with or who are at high risk for estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, a type of tumor that depends on estrogen to grow. The tumor feeds on extra estrogen and is aggravated by these soy isoflavones, which are sometimes called "phytoestrogens Phytoestrogens
Compounds found in plants that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.
Mentioned in: Premenstrual Syndrome
n.pl plant-derived estrogen analogs. " because of the way they help regulate or increase estrogen levels.
Women seeking a natural approach to menopause are turning to soy to relieve mild to moderate symptoms. Studies at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center This article or section needs sources or references that appear in reliable, third-party publications. Alone, primary sources and sources affiliated with the subject of this article are not sufficient for an accurate encyclopedia article. show soy's protein helps reduce the hot flashes, irritability and sleep problems many menopausal women experience. For 25 years, certified nutritionist Alice Hanlon has incorporated soy into her own diet and exercise-filled regimen to help reduce and nearly eliminate her hot flashes. "When I eat tofu, I find it does seem to help," says Hanlon. "My hot flashes aren't as severe or as frequent." But she emphasizes that other factors may be involved, like taking B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and whey protein powder, which has more amino acids than soy.
Sharon Meyer, Hanlon's partner at Total Wellness Concepts in San Francisco and a certified nutritionist, explains the possible differences between using soy and hormone replacement therapy Hormone Replacement Therapy Definition
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the use of synthetic or natural female hormones to make up for the decline or lack of natural hormones produced in a woman's body. (HRT HRT
hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Also called estrogen replacement therapy, this controversial treatment is used to relieve the discomforts of menopause. ). "You are peaking between highs and lows of estrogen during the course of the day." When a woman is put on HRT, sometimes the artificial replacement creates "higher highs and lower lows, resulting in more intense hot flashes."
The chemical reaction of estrogen in HRT may put a woman at higher risk for cancer, but estrogen in plant-based foods can help prevent cancer. In her book, Estrogen the Natural Way, author Nina Shandler explains that there are three types of estrogen: estradiol, estrone estrone /es·trone/ (es´tron) an estrogen isolated from pregnancy urine, human placenta, palm kernel oil, and other sources, also prepared synthetically; for properties and uses, see estrogen. and estriol estriol /es·tri·ol/ (es´tre-ol) a relatively weak human estrogen (q.v.), being a metabolic product of estradiol and estrone found in high concentrations in urine, especially during pregnancy. , arranged from strongest to weakest. The longer the exposure to the two stronger estrogens Estrogens
Hormones produced by the ovaries, the female sex glands.
Mentioned in: Acne, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
n. (through earlier menstruation, later termination of menstruation and excess weight), says Shandler, the higher your risk for breast cancer. Doctors didn't realize until recently that estrogen replacement pills, which use these two stronger estrogens, would aggravate the risk. Given these facts, many women are turning to natural ways to reduce hot flashes and stay healthy.
The GE Factor
In East Asia, soy is used more regularly and is less processed than in the United States. American soybean crops are of ten modified genetically, and they are also manufactured into processed foods like cereal and chips, raising questions about the possible elimination of vital nutrients and proteins.
People with allergies might surfer adverse reactions from eating genetically engineered (GE) foods. Additionally, antibiotics used in marking the genes in GE foods may create super-resistant bacteria and viruses that are unaffected by antibiotic treatment. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA FDA
Food and Drug Administration
n.pr See Food and Drug Administration.
n.pr the abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. ) doesn't require labeling of GE foods. Some manufacturers of soy foods, such as White Wave, Lightlife and Vitasoy, have voluntarily begun to label their products as GE-free. However, even foods grown organically for many years have tested positive for genetic engineering due to cross-pollination.
Soy is not for everyone. It is an allergen for some people, so try eating small amounts of soy, such as one to two servings a week for about six weeks. Monitor how your sinuses and body react to the buildup of the bean's chemicals. If you experience breast tenderness, excessive bloating bloating Vox populi A lay term for post-prandial abdominal fullness or swelling , flatulence flatulence /flat·u·lence/ (flat´u-lens) excessive formation of gases in the stomach or intestine.
flat·u·lence or flat·u·len·cy
The presence of excessive gas in the digestive tract. or bowel irregularity, you may be allergic to soy.
Aside from these warnings, Melanie Polk, registered dietician and director of Nutrition Education at the AICR, says, "Research on soy is a relatively new area. It does appear that soy is a health protector. It is reasonable to incorporate some soy into a mostly plant-based diet of vegetables, fruits, grains and beans."
Making the Change
Still not convinced about the benefits of soy? It may help to know that soy can help protect the immune system and blood vessels, and that it can also help ward off heart attacks, strokes, osteoporosis, diabetes and kidney disease.
There are lots of ways to incorporate soy into your diet without sacrificing individual taste. Hanlon and Meyer suggest making smoothies. Blend a few ice cubes, fresh fruit and soy milk in a blender until smooth. (Frozen fruit may be used instead of ice cubes, but you may need extra milk or juice for consistency.) Hanlon and Meyer recommend only drinking a smoothie every other day so you don't become soy intolerant.
For a meatier palate, there are tasty replacement recipes to ease the transition to soy. For example, you could start with soy nuts on a salad, or use soy crumbles in a taco. You might even try to use less meat by mixing soy with the meat, extending the quantity but not the risks. Substitute tofu for ricotta cheese or low-fat cream cheese in lasagna, casseroles or dips.
This recipe for miso (Multiple Inputs Single Output) Pronounced "my-so," it is the use of multiple transmitters and a single receiver on a wireless device to improve the transmission distance. See MIMO. and tahini ta·hi·ni
A thick paste made from ground sesame seeds.
[Turkish t topping from Total Wellness can be added to brown rice and vegetables: Take one tablespoon of miso, three tablespoons of tahini, juice from half a lemon, a small clove of crushed garlic and a little water. Blend the ingredients into a creamy paste. A thicker version is good on warm cornbread or pitas.
Textured soy protein and tempeh tem·peh
A high-protein food of Indonesian origin made from partially cooked, fermented soybeans.
[Indonesian tempe, from Javanese, soybean cakes.] are excellent meat alternatives that can completely or partially replace ground meat to reduce intake of saturated fat and cholesterol. Tempeh is one of the most easily digestible digestible
having the quality of being able to be digested.
the proportion of the potential energy in a feed which is in fact digested.
see digestible protein. soyfoods and doesn't require much cooking. It is ideal if you want something healthy and satisfying but quick. Just cut it into strips, add some soy sauce, and saute with onions, peppers and mushrooms. Then stuff it all into a pita. CONTACT: American Soybean Association, (800)688-7692, www.soygrowers.com.
MONIQUE N. GILBERT is a health advocate, recipe developer and author of Virtues of Soy: A Practical Health Guide and Cookbook (Universal Publishers). A.M. WILBORN is an editorial intern at E.