Soy’s Place in a Natural DietPacked with amino acids and other valuable nutrients, soy has earned a name as one of the most popular protein sources for vegetarians, vegans, and others who simply want alternatives to meat in their day-to-day diet. Whether eaten on its own, in tofu, or as part of a protein-rich additive, popular culture heralds this bean as a fail-safe super food. As with any aspect of a natural diet, however, moderation is the key, and no one food should be championed as a nutritional panacea.
Potential Soy Health Risks
- Along with peanuts and milk, soy allergies are one of the most common forms of food allergies. Although this is mostly a concern when undiagnosed in children, adults can go undiagnosed for decades, never aware that their favorite food is the cause of their chronic discomfort and malaise.
- Soy contains a significant amount of estrogen. While this is not a health risk when soy is consumed in moderation, choosing soy as your chief protein source means constant exposure to powerful hormones. As with food allergies, this is even more of a concern with young children; always consult a doctor before making hormone-rich food a part of your child’s diet.
- Excessive soy consumption could prove to be a cancer risk. The estrogens in these beans have been linked with tumor growth in women already at risk for breast cancer, and they have been hypothesized to increase risk for prostate cancer in men.
So long as you have no allergies and you are not predisposed to having a higher risk of contracting cancer, moderate soy consumption can be an important and beneficial part of your diet. However, if you find yourself consuming high amounts of soy-rich food, consider adding diversity to your diet with other nutritious staple food. Be mindful of the various foods that contain soy. It is easy to be consuming too much. Please refer to our article on Top 10 Soy Foods.