Many women make food choices based on their desire to lose weight. While eating the right foods to maintain a healthy weight is a good thing, women also need to eat the right foods to promote their overall health. Heart disease and breast cancer affect millions of women each year – knowing what to eat to keep your body healthy is extremely important. Whole soy, which provides a number of important nutrients, including protein, fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and calcium, can have beneficial health affects for those who consume two servings a day.
In September of 2009, leading soy science experts reviewed the current body of evidence and worked to clarify the benefits and risks of whole soy consumption. The resulting articles, published in the December 2010 Journal of Nutrition Supplement, shed light on the role of soy in women’s health.
Heart Health: Soy consumption can be part of a dietary pattern that reduces the risk of heart disease. Data indicates that consuming two to six daily servings of soyfoods, based on 20-133 grams of soy protein per day, can result in a 7 to 10 percent reduction in cholesterol. According to the Food and Drug Administration, incorporating 25 grams of soy protein per day as part of a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Breast Cancer: Soy can be protective against breast cancer when consumption starts before puberty and appears to be safe for women at risk for or with a history of breast cancer. A review of data suggests that there is no increased risk of breast cancer linked to soy consumption.
“Soy appears to be protective and is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer reoccurrence for women who have consumed soy throughout most of their life,” said Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, and Professor of Oncology at Georgetown University. “At this point in time, the effects of soyfoods on breast cancer reoccurrence in patients who have not previously consumed soy are not known.”
The American Cancer Society suggests that up to three servings a day of soyfoods is safe for women at risk for or with a history of breast cancer.
All soy comes from soybeans, which are naturally grown beans similar in size to a pea.
Whole soy, as opposed to isolated soy protein, is defined as the form of soyfoods in which the whole soybean and/or its nutrients are kept intact. Here are some easy and delicious ways one serving of whole soy can be incorporated into one’s daily routine:
- Snack on 1/4 cup of dry roasted soybeans.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup edamame over a salad.
- Incorporate 1/2 cup of canned soybeans into a bean salad or chili recipe.
- Add 1/2 cup tofu to vegetable stir-fry.
- Enjoy a couple of SOYJOY® bars.