Read on to know about the health effects associated with the consumption of soy!

Soybean is a legume that can be eaten as such or processed to make a variety of other soy-based products such as tofu, soy milk, soy sauce, miso, natto, tempeh, etc. Edamame is a whole soy product that is actually immature or green soybeans.

Soybean is a very nutritious food product that is also a great source of proteins, healthy fats, fiber, vitamin K, thiamine, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Health benefits associated with soy are as follows.

Lowers cholesterol levels

Several studies suggest that soy can improve cholesterol levels by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood. But, this observation holds true only for whole soy products and not soy supplements.

Improves fertility

Consuming soy has been linked to improved fertility in women as it results in the regular menstrual cycle, increases chances of implantation and pregnancy, and protects against the harmful chemical BPA, which is present in plastics.

Reduces the symptoms of menopause

Isoflavones found in soy act like weak estrogen and help to decrease the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.

However, there are several potentially negative effects of soy as well.

Increases the risk of breast cancer

High estrogen content helps breast cancer cells to grow, which means consuming too much soy may increase the risk of breast cancer. However, this may hold true mainly for soy supplements and not for whole or fermented soy products.

Impacts thyroid activity

Goitrogens in soy can block iodine absorption and may negatively impact the thyroid gland. But, there are mixed opinions regarding this matter.

May impact male sex hormones

Soy contains phytoestrogen and many men may be concerned regarding consuming it. However, many studies do not support this claim and instead relate soy consumption to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Soy contains GMOs

Certain genetically modified organisms (GMO) containing soy products can have a poor nutritional profile and it is best to consume organic soy-based foods.