Soy, Friend or Foe?

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“There’s a lot of misconceptions about soy. People think, is it good, is it bad? Should I stay away from it? should I include it?” Questions clinical dietitian Jeanne Struve frequently hears—especially when it comes to breast cancer. “I think where the biggest confusion comes in is with breast cancer, especially when people have an estrogen type breast cancer,” she said.

That’s because soy is full of phyto-estrogens—but health experts say soy can actually help to prevent breast cancer. “Studies have consistently shown that if women in their adolescence and pre-menopausal years have soy consistently, they cut their chance of getting breast cancer by about 30 percent,” said Struve.

Studies also show soy can improve your survival rate after breast cancer. “After you’ve had breast cancer, if you include soy your survival rate goes up by about 30 percent, and your re-occurrence rate goes down,” Struve explained.

When you’re looking to try soy stick to whole food products like soybeans, edamame, soy milk, Tempe, tofu, and miso, and avoid fractionated and refined soy products. “The great thing about soy is it’s high in fiber and fiber is good for you. It’s the kind of resistant, starch-fiber that is considered a prebiotic,” said Struve.

Soy can also help with cardiovascular disease, decrease your risk for osteoporosis, and lower your bad cholesterol. Just a few ways, one addition to your diet can improve your overall health.

Acknowledgment

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