The healthiest way to eat soy is eating it once it has been fermented. The fermentation process makes it much easier for your body to digest and is a wonderful source of vitamin K2 and K2. Asia's low rate of heart disease may very well be linked to their fermented soy-based diet through miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce (the healthiest of which is Braggs liquid aminos).
There has been a lot of debate around whether or not unfermented soy is healthy. It seems that it is not as bad as many would have you believe and medical science through many studies support this. Soy is an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein. It is rich in vitamin B6, which is important in building amino acids and in the formation of neurotransmitters. Furthermore, soy is often recommended as an alternative for meat in low-fat diets. One of soy's greatest advantages may lie in it being a rich source of isoflavones- plant hormones that have been linked to several health benefits.
There are some that say it causes cancer, specifically breast cancer in women, however, a study done in January 2008 by the University of Southern California found that women who had about one cup of soymilk or tofu daily had a 30% less risk of developing breast cancer than those who have little to no soy products in their diets. In addition, a study done in 2009 showed that soy consumption may actually reduce reoccurrence in women who have had breast cancer. This research focuses on phytoestrogens which are found in soybeans and are similar to the estrogen. The research suggests that the phytoestrogens attach to the estrogen receptors in a woman's body and block the natural estrogens from being able to attach thus stopping estrogen's cancer-inducing effects.
How about men? A study published in Fertility and Sterility showed that soy did not affect testosterone levels in men. In addition, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published fourteen studies that show that the increased intake of non-fermented soy resulted in a 26% reduction of prostate cancer risk.
The leading cause of death in the United States is coronary heart disease, linked to high levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. In recent clinical trials, men and women with high LDL levels were able to reduce them by consuming soy over an extended period. In October 2000, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced that certain foods containing soy will be able to claim that they may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (To qualify, the food must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy per serving, one- quarter of the daily recommended serving of 25 grams).
To try some a yummy soy bean snack- buy them raw, in their shells, and steam them. When the beans inside are soft, put a little salt on the outside shells, and pop them open to get the beans. Tasty!
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