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4 ways to get the most from soy

Scour the Internet and you’ll find no shortage of miracle soy health claims. Unquestionably, the soy food industry is booming. But research ping-pongs between risks and benefits — whether it could increase or decrease the risk of certain cancers isn’t clear — and lately experts have taken a more cautious approach to promoting the bean.

“Everything in moderation,” says Kerry Neville, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, who adds that soy products, like tofu, are a healthy substitute for high-fat meats.

Some advice to make soy work for you:

  1. Go natural. “Eat traditional soy food and not processed artificial substitutes,” says Jennette Turner, a highly rated natural foods educator in Minneapolis. Products like miso, tamari and tofu are time tested, she says.
  2. Check the facts. Soy protein might slightly lower bad cholesterol but eating it can also cause minor digestive problems, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
  3. Strive for balance. Incorporate soy into a well-rounded meal plan, rather than swapping it in for whole food groups, such as meat or dairy.
  4. Allergies. Make sure you and those you’re serving aren’t allergic to soy, one of the most common food allergies. The allergy is usually mild, but in rare cases people have life-threatening reactions to the bean.

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Comments

The omega-6 fatty acids in soy can inflame the joints and give fibromyalgia symptoms. For this reason I have eliminated soy from my diet and warned others about the side effects.

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