Question: Monique, I would like to take soy pills rather than incorporate soy into my food. I noticed a few different types of soy pills in the supermarket. What guidelines should I follow when I select a product? Thanks, Sharon
Answer: The two things that you need to look at when buying a soy supplement are soy protein and isoflavones (like genistein and daidzein). To produce a positive effect, researchers recommend consuming a minimum of 25 grams of soy protein and 30-50 milligrams of isoflavones daily.
You may want to consider soy protein powders and make a shake because they usually contain both, while soy pills usually only contain isoflavones. However, many health experts discourage people from jumping prematurely to supplements. Instead, they want people to learning how to incorporate soy foods into a balanced diet.
Many soy supplements are not very reliable sources of isoflavones. When concentrated into a pill form, the process methods can destroy these healthful substances. When soy is in food form, it is also in combination with other nutrients and compounds that contribute to its many health benefits. They believe soy's health promoting effects cannot be achieved by just popping a couple of soy pills. After numerous studies, researchers have concluded that isoflavones and soy protein work best together especially in food form.
If soy supplements are taken for bone health or reducing menopausal symptoms, researchers advise taking them along with soy foods. This way the benefits of both forms of soy can complement and enhance each other. Researchers do not want people to consider soy as a magic bullet to counteract bad eating habits. They don't want people to rely on adding just one or two soy products to their diets while continuing to eat foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Nor do they advise people to consume large quantities of soy supplements to try to achieve soy's health benefits.
Balance, moderation, and variety are the keys to a healthy diet. Nothing should ever be excessively consumed. Loading up on any one food or nutrient is never wise. Each soy-based or plant-based product provides a different chemical composition. The best way to take advantage of these various beneficial nutrients and compounds, is to adopt good eating habits which include a wide assortment of nutritionally-dense foods.
To learn how to incorporate more soy into your diet, read...
Virtues of Soy: A Pracitical Health Guide and Cookbook
Other Recommended Reading...
• Plant Based Nutrition and Health
by Stephen Walsh
• The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide To A Healthy Vegetarian Diet
by Vesanto Melina & Brenda Davis
• The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen
by Donna Klein
• Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
• Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina
• Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World
by Bob Torres, Jenna Torres
• Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
• The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Cooking
by Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano
You may also want to visit the Virtues of Soy website.
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Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.