while teaching a cooking class I get asked if soy food is good for
you? I believe there is a lot of misleading information that causes
many people to become confused. When considering what foods are good
for us and what may not be, I look to history. If a food has been
eaten for a long time, and with no problems, we can know it is safe
for us to eat. Such is the case with soy. Five thousand year old texts
describe soybeans as being one of the most important crops grown.
Miso, fermented soybeans, has been eaten since 2,500 years ago in
China. And tempeh has been eaten for centuries in Indonesia. If there
was something wrong with this food, it would have been discovered
a long time ago.
have many anticancer properties:
may stop the spread of some forms of cancer at an early stage
Inhibitors, universal anti-carcinogen and may block the action of
acids, inhibit growth of tumors
have easily absorbable iron, many B vitamins, carotin, support
detoxification, promote vitality and feed and nurture the lungs and
large intestines. Soybeans made into tofu are high in calcium. When
made into tempeh it is 19.5% protein. Containing all eight essential
amino acids, it is a complete protein. When made into miso it has 11
g. of complete protein in 1 T. And by fermenting it to make the miso,
the healing properties are enhanced. Miso is a living food containing
lactobacillus, a healthful micro organism that aids in digestion. There
are so many wonderful health benefits from soy foods, I can see why
we have been eating it for thousands of years.
there is a lot of confusion about the plant based phyto-estrogen, isoflavones
in soybeans. This part of the bean does not disrupt your estrogen levels,
it balances them. If you are too low, it raises them, it you are too
high it lowers them. These isoflavones also have been credited with
slowing the effects of osteoporosis, relieving some side effects of
menopause, and alleviating some side effects of cancer. Not to mention
it has been shown to dramatically lower the undesirable L.D.L. cholesterol.
It is interesting that in China, where they eat soybean products such
as tofu, tempeh, and miso everyday, that until recently they did not
have a word in their language for hot flashes. Of course now, because
they have introduced our highly refined and processed way of eating
into their culture, that is changing. Also many times a women is told
by her doctor to take photo-estrogen pills, for whatever reason. Why
not get it from your food instead of a pill?
I do want
to say that when buying soybean foods, you must buy organic. It is,
right now, our only way to have some kind of insurance that the soybeans
have not been genetically altered. And eat the soy foods that have stood
the test of time: tofu, tempeh, miso, tamari, and shoyu. Just like any
other food, if it has been refined or processed some of the nutritional
quality will suffer.
there are articles and books out there that give soybeans a bad rep.
They quote studies that say it is harmful. And I have come to the conclusion
these studies are not reliable. Soybeans have been studied probably
more then any other health food. So it is easy to pick only a handful
of negative studies, if that is what will profit you, and ignore the
majority of favorable studies. And most of these studies are done on
animals, usually mice or rats. These animals are feed high amounts of
the isoflavones isolated, not the whole soybean. Also they are feed
a large amount that is much more then a human would eat. And human bodies
assimilate differently then mice, so the reaction can not be compared.
Every one of these that I have seen, excludes the foods I mention above
and have been eaten for thousands of years. Our epidemic of sickness
does not come from food that has been eaten for thousands of years.
It is from our culture of fast foods, processed foods, microwaved foods,
refined foods and the huge amount of stress we live with everyday. Also
from the absurd notion, more is better. For instance, if you drink three
quarts of soy milk a day, you are going to have some reaction. (This
was actually one study that came to the conclusion soy is bad.) That
is way too much of any one food to be consuming. I do not care if it
is cows milk, goats milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy
research and decide for yourself. But I would not pay any attention
to studies done on animals and studies done with huge amount of soy
consumed. Up until recently, China had one of the lowest rates of cancer.
One of their main food sources is soy and has been for thousands of
years. If there was any link with eating soy and getting cancer, dont
you think the Chinese would have been dying form cancer long before
this. (Common sense!) And lastly I would like to point out there are
huge multi billion dollar
industries that would not want to lose there business to a wonderful,
high protein plant based food source. Maybe some of these multi billion
dollar industry sponsored the research?
Vals note: I have been eating and studying soy foods for 18
years. These are my findings. Please take the time to do some investigating
and make an informed decision about soy.