How to Use Soy to Improve Your Health

by Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

What Is Soy, Anyway?
Simply put, soy is a simple, healthy, natural food made up of plant chemicals, otherwise known as phytochemicals. These phytochemicals – called isoflavones – can protect many areas of the body including the cells, heart and bones.

The Health Benefits of Soy – Cancer Prevention and Heart Health
The isoflavones in soy have many health benefits. Numerous studies have shown that two isoflavone compounds in particular – genistein and daidzein – have anticancer properties. The way this works is that these soy isoflavones function as weak estrogens. These weak estrogens do not have the strength to bind solidly to estrogen receptors – so, as a result, they end up binding weakly, which inhibits tumor growth. Studies have shown that breast and uterine tumors are especially affected by this weak estrogen effect.

A second major health benefit of soy is that it has been shown to protect the heart through Omega-6 fatty acids, which are a form of vegetable fat. Omega 6 fatty acids have been proven to cause the heart to function more efficiently.

Other Health Benefits
In addition to fighting cancer, soy has other health benefits that include easing the effects of menopause. Specifically, soy helps prevent hot flashes, reduces vaginal dryness, assists in lowering cholesterol and prevents coronary artery blockage in menopausal women. Soy also has been shown in studies to prevent overall bone loss, thanks to an isoflavone called iprivilone that can actually replace lost bone.

How to Get Soy: What Should I Eat?
Soy is found in many different forms and continues to grow in popularity, so it’s fairly easy to find in supermarkets, recipes and restaurants. Soy products such as whole soy beans (also known as Edamame) and soy nuts are sold in many stores, as are soy burgers, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy butter and soy protein powders.

How Much Do I Need?
Studies have shown that in order to reap the many health benefits of soy, an adult should consume between 50 and 150 milligrams of soy isoflavones per day.

Here are some examples of easy ways to get enough soy:

¼ cup of soy nuts = 62 milligrams of isoflavones
½ cup of tofu = 35 milligrams of isoflavones
1 – 2 scoops of soy powder = 25 – 75 milligrams of isoflavones
1 cup of soy milk = 30 milligrams of isoflavones
2 Tbsp. of soy butter = 17 milligrams of isoflavones

Other Things to Know About Soy
When beginning a diet rich in soy, make sure you increase your intake slowly and pay attention to its effects, as soy can be a very allergic food.

A Simple Recipe: Tofu Spaghetti
Add chopped firm tofu to a prepared or homemade spaghetti sauce. Mix well, and then pour the combined mixture over cooked pasta. Add a touch of Parmesan cheese, and you have a soy-rich spaghetti substitute!

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a nationwide chain of natural and organic foods markets in the US and Canada. The company operates 111 natural foods stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada. The company's markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets..


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