ABOUT SOY | Conscious Cooking

Soy comes from soybeans, which is a type of legume like beans and lentils that originally comes from Asia. It’s a plant food that is used to make different products like tempeh, miso, soy sauce and tofu. In our modern world, it’s used to make other products like soy meat, soy cheese, soy ice cream and soy protein powders. Soy is a highly controversial subject as some people say it’s healthy while some say to stay away completely. The truth is that it depends on the quality and quantity of soy consumed.

On the positive side, soy is high in protein and has all its amino acids, which make it a complete protein. It’s a good source of calcium and doesn’t have any cholesterol or saturated fats. It’s a highly versatile food that is appreciated by vegetarians. Soy is also known to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Soy foods like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce are fermented and are the best types of soy to consume. Other types of food, including edamame, tofu and homemade soy milk, can be nutritious and part of a healthy diet if consumed organic and in moderation.

On the other side, processed soy foods, which is what most people consume today, may be a problem if consumed in excess. It may contribute to certain health issues like fatigue, infertility and thyroid problems. Also, soy contains isoflavones, which is a type of phytoestrogen that acts as hormones in the body. In small quantities, it may help some women to regulate hormones. However, in large quantities, it can be problematic and is said to disrupt the endocrine system. If soy is not fermented, a component called phytic acid is present in soy, which blocks mineral absorption in the body and makes soy hard to digest. Soy is also one of the most common allergens, and more than 90 percent of the soy grown in the United States is genetically modified.

Overall, I believe that soy shouldn’t be classified as “good” or “bad” since it all depends on the quality and quantity you are eating. I am sure, however, that if soy is to be consumed, it should be in its most natural form and preferably fermented rather than processed. Although it doesn’t resolve the issue, it’s always best to purchase organic if for no other reason than to avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticide residues.