Soy: properties and contraindications

Soy: properties and contraindications

Soy yes or no? The "food community" is lined up in two factions, worse than for a constitutional referendum.

It is often the only one protein source in risky vegan diets, and its consumption can indeed reach excessively high levels.

The properties of soy they are known to oriental people and to those who have problems related to menopause. But there are also contraindications in the use of soy in our diet? And if so, what are they?

Let's find out together.


Soy: the properties

So first the simple things. Soy is a legume, a relative of beans and lentils, more or less. Like all legumes, soy is also rich in vegetable proteins, it does not contain cholesterol, has several fibers and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium) important for our health.

Here is a short list of main properties of soy, thanks to the molecules it contains: 

  • Regularize the intestine, blood sugar and cholesterol, thanks to the fiber and lecithins contained;
  • Help fight i menopausal disorders, thanks to isoflavones, molecules similar to estrogens;
  • Increase the anticancer protection (in some cases): a laboratory study appeared in the journal of the National Cancer Institute highlighted how the molecule genistein is a probable anti-tumor agent found in soy. Genistein appears to be able to interfere with the production of protective proteins of cancer cells;
  • Protects the bones: in soy we find another isoflavone called daidzein which helps prevent bone decalcification. In addition, 250 grams of soy provides about 50% of the daily calcium requirement of an adult
  • Supports against premenstrual syndrome: thanks to the isoflavones genistein and daidzein, soy can positively affect hormonal changes present before the menstrual cycle and the resulting mood changes


Soy, the most popular vegetable for vegetarians


Soy: contraindications

We discovered "miraculous" properties in a legume perhaps unknown as soy and we are enthusiastic about it?

Well, pay attention to the other side of the coin though: if consumed in excess, the same positive molecules can give unpleasant contraindications. We recommend a moderate use of soy products, to avoid running into effects unwanted.

Here are the main contraindications to the use of soy:

  • Phytoestrogens should be consumed with caution in pregnancy and early life, since they couldo interfere with the proper development of the endocrine glands and their regulation;
  • Increase in possibility of breast cancer risk (estrogen-dependent): given the characteristics of isoflavones, the consumption of soy and its derivatives is not recommended for women who have developed this type of cancer; All women who have or have had any type of breast cancer are recommended to consult their doctor before taking soy or its derivatives (including in supplement form);
  • Interference in the thyroid function: phytoestrogens are not recommended in the presence of a thyroid disease;
  • Presence of gynecological pathologies: the cases in which caution is required in the use of soy are, for example, endometriosis, fibroids or endometrial tumors;
  • Interference with drugs: for example warfarin and tamoxifen. If in doubt, ask your doctor before taking soy products or supplements;
  • Decreased absorption of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium: the phytic acid contained in soy, especially in the husk of the seed, is able to chelate microelements, preventing their absorption by the body. Using a suitable soaking period or fermented products such as tofu or miso or tempeh decreases the action of phytates;
  • Presence of GMOs: about 90% of cultivated soy is genetically modified, and a percentage of GMO pollution is also tolerated by law in organic soybeans. The effects of a diet based on GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in the long term they are not yet fully identified.


Read also Soy milk and hormonal imbalances >> 



We recommend a sparing use of soy products, which are in any case "few but good" or rather coming from organic farming (non-GMO) and naturally fermented.


Find out more about the pros and cons of soy



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