Soy products, such as tofu and soy milk, have been a staple food for most people, especially vegetarians. If you like cooking, it should be no surprise to you that people often incorporate soy products e.g. tofu, soybean in different recipes! However, there are some rumors suggesting soy is actually a stimulant for breast cancers and could disrupt hormone activities in male and female. Is that really true and should we just stop eating soy?
The concern is sourcing from a controversial “bad guy”— isoflavones. Soy contains a large amount of these, which can activate/inhibit your estrogen receptors. Estrogen is a hormone found mainly in females but males also have a small amount. It is mainly responsible for the regulation of reproductive cycles and sexual function. Some studies are suggesting that these isoflavones can activate or disrupt the estrogen receptors and cause rapid development of breast cells, leading to breast cancer. On the other hand, there are also several studies suggesting that consuming soy products can prevent breast cancers. That said, the results are quite inconclusive and more evidence is required to better understand the role of soy in breast cancer. It may not cause breast cancers, but having excess amounts will probably be an issue. Numerous studies have shown that consuming high levels of soy products may lead to gastric disturbances such as stomach pain, swelling and bloating. With all these risks to consider, should soy still be consumed? Keep in mind that soy products have some great health benefits. Other than its high protein and calcium content, it is also able to decrease your LDL cholesterol, which is beneficial to your heart. Therefore, unless you have a crazy obsession with soy and having extreme amounts per day, it is better to not completely kick out soy from your diet!