Soy is a herbal product - character and chemical property - wise full of contradictions. As very often, we are made asserted about the positive effect of this group of products, but there are so many proven negative side effects of these of products that we become confused about its true nature and dual self-contradicted character. As on now, we will discuss the multi-faced soy with its known, unknown, positive, and negative impacts on health as well as on health related factors.
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There is a huge range of soy products and all are originated from soybeans. The complete soy products such as soy flour, tofu, soymilk, miso, temph and soy protein supplies phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals, which have proven beneficial qualities. The photochemical factor available in soy products, such as isoflavones, is well-known for its protective qualities.
In 1999, FDA of the United States (US Food and Drug Administration) published a report where it was mentioned that daily consumption of soy in diet inspires a healthy life style and as an effect can reduce cholesterol levels in a remarkable scale. However, in 2006 researchers of American Heart Association (AHA) and the Harvard School of Public Health contradicted this popular concept about the benefits of soy and declared a different and brain storming research result that soy-based isoflavone supplement does not have the reducing power to decrease cholesterol levels as claimed by AHA. But it was claimed by AHA that soy protein is a wonderful supplement for animal protein and poultry product and this product can perfectly complement amino acids without saturated fats.
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Multiple studies have been done on the effect of soy on cancer and special emphasis was laid on breast cancer. It is a proven fact that isoflavones of soy act as estrogens and they are also known as phytoestrogens. Further research with these compounds has produced apparently contradicting results. One result of the study shows that low concentration of genistein has a stimulating effect on the growth of the malignant cells in breast cancer, which is somehow similar to estrogen but the higher concentration of genistein subdued receptor cells, those are estrogen-positive in nature.
This particular study attracted a considerable attention in the medical community and it was taken in major concern in the treatment of women suffering from breast cancer. In this context researches expressed their opinion that although isoflavones can be proved as beneficial factor at some age or in some specific situations, the beneficial influence is not a universal granted factor. Like all other estrogen hormones, it can act as a sword with double edges, beneficial as well as risky to health.
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It is a research supported fact that in relieving menopausal symptoms the impact of soy is quite disappointing and it has been concluded by both the research teams of 2001 and 2006 that soy has no significant effect in influencing menopause related symptoms which is supported by a recent study done by Mayo clinic. The study has claimed that in controlling hot flush the impact of soy consumption has proved quite neutral - it can control neither the severity nor the frequency of hot flush during this menopausal period.
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Although there is disappointing result of soy's influence on controlling breast cancer and menopausal problems, the consumption of soy has proved effective in influencing osteoporosis in a positive way. A two-year evaluation of a group of menopausal women has exposed the fact that the women consuming average two glasses of soy milk at a daily basis are enjoying stronger and stable bone mass in comparison to the group of women, non-consumer of soy milk at a daily basis or not at all.
Although the researchers are trying their level best to find out a parameter of soy consumption but in an average it is safe for the patients of breast cancer and menopausal symptoms to consume moderate amount of soy and to avoid the supplements. Otherwise, it is wise to keep a certain amount of soy in diet chart to enjoy a healthy life style.
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Soy milk is apparently like cow milk but there is some nutritional difference. It is commercially made vitamin enriched (vitamin B12) and most of the manufacturers of soy milk are now adding human digestible calcium carbonate to upgrade its food vitality. The benefit of soy milk is its low cholesterol value and little amount of saturated fact. On the other hand, as soy milk does not contain galactose, it can be administered safely with the children, as a supplement of breast milk, suffering from galactosemia.
There are numerous vital reasons for choosing soy milk as a supplement of cow milk. And they include facts that soy milk lacks casein, it is safe for the people to intake soy milk having milk allergy and lactose intolerance. In addition, soy milk is an abundant source of vitamin E and lecithin and it contains organic material that has positive influence of health though it is hypothetical assumption.
Owing to the complex nature of soy, researchers have observed some adverse effects and these are listed below. It may be mentioned that there is a considerably higher amount of phytic acid that forms a binding chain of nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc in some proportion. Although as source of nutrition, cow milk is better suitable for absorption of iron and calcium from other sources.
Soy has also been observed to have cognitive impairment in rats. And in this consequence it has been proved that due to the presence of phytoestrogens in soy milk it impacts negative on males. (Although concentrated phytoestrogen is not comparable to concentrated amount of phytoestrogen in soy beans.)
Again, though controversial, soy milk has some advantages over human health and in some situations it is preferred to administer soy milk for the babies suffering from galactosemia. It is better to enjoy soy milk for the heart patients as it is proved that consuming 25 gm of soy milk daily lessens heart diseases and resists failure risk. It has been measured that 240 ml of soy milk contains 7-10 gm of soy protein that can improve the life style of a general person.