THE CONTRAVERSY SURROUNDING SOYA

soya beanAs there is masses of information regarding the benefits and negative aspects of soya, this article will highlight information available, some proven, other somewhat dubious. It is therefore not surprising that one can be left with a "boatload of confusion" !

 

HISTORY

The soy bean originated in the Far East, and was used for food and medicine in the daily lives of the Chinese for the past 5000 years. Due to colonization it was brought to the USA in the 18th century and is now a product found worldwide. Those who praise its benefits state that value and safety has been proven over several millennia, this evidence based on its history of consumption.

DESCRIPTION

The soy bean is classified as a legume, is very easily grown and has a long oval shape, not unlike the green bean in appearance. The beans contain compounds which mimic the hormone oestrogen, are high in vegetable protein, and healthy fatty acids are rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals.

BENEFITS

Many soy products are exploited as the healthiest alternative to eating meat due to a high content of protein.
Soya is ideal for vegans, and those who are lactose intolerant. As more people are becoming wary of eating meat, soya products are gaining in popularity.
Soya is said to reduce cholesterol, prevent heart disease and control hot flushes experienced by women due to hormone imbalances
Valuable carbohydrates are helpful to intestinal bacteria, thereby maintaining a balance in the gut.
It is cheap and could be a mainstay in impoverished nations.

THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF EATING SOYA FOODS

Some research states that the oestrogen content could cause the proliferation of breast cells.
Soya is a fairly common allergen and another charge against soya is its possible disruption of fertility in the human body.
It is yet unproven that soya is a dangerous inclusion in infant feed and that it can block thyroid functioning.
Regarding the development of bone, the beans contain phytic acid which is a blocker of calcium. Therefore most studies have shown zero effects on skeletal health.
But the following statement is probably the most significant and that is "say no to processed soya".
This will be discussed further

EDIBLE PRODUCTS DERIVED FROM SOYA

Some that you may find on supermarket and health store shelves:

  • Infant milk formula
  • Soy sauce - the process yields a high salt content. Keep an eye open for sodium free types.
  • Tofu – manufactured by curdling soya milk, the liquid being pressed out [much like cheese making] resulting in the formation of curds which are pressed into blocks.
  • Miso - a thick paste made from fermented soy beans and barley. Used in soups and sauces and favoured in Japanese recipes.
  • Tempeh - a nutty soybean cake.
  • Endamane – young beans from the pod. This is whole real soya.
  • Animal feed – Farming of soy beans is carried out on a large scale for this purpose.
  • TVP – textured vegetable protein, the end product appears as coarse granules or chunks. TVP is a substitute for minced beef and is commonly used in stews, curries and combined with other ingredients emerges as burgers, non-meat sausages, polony and so on.

As attractive as these products may be, they are too far removed from the source. The chemical process involved in creating TVP is detrimental to health. The above mentioned should be eaten in moderation.

NON-EDIBLE USES

Could Soya be lurking in your cosmetic bag? Apparently so – soy with its high protein content is finding its way into face creams and lotions, soaps, hair conditioners and other toiletries. These products will go down well with the anti-cruelty activists, highlighting the fact that retail opportunities know no limits.

Matsimela's product range contains no derivative of soya.

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