Weighing the Health Benefits of Soy
Consult your doctor about whether and how much soy to consume if you have had breast cancer, are in a high-risk group for breast cancer, are pregnant or nursing, have a thyroid condition, or have had kidney stones.
Once upon a time, way back in the mid-nineties, the only confusing thing about soy was how to prepare it elegantly in any context other than Asian cuisine. The rest was beautifully clear, and becoming clearer all the time: Soy was good for the heart and for women's overall health -- for their bones, their reproductive organs, even for symptoms of menopause. This was the New Age health food par excellence, worthy of any sophisticated hostess's table. If only someone could find a way to make a block of tofu attractive and tasty.
Well, in classic yin-yang fashion, now that we've worked out the culinary kinks, questions have arisen about how good soy really is for the body. It may be a "double-edged sword, conferring both benefits and risks," according to Daniel Sheehan, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Another researcher describes the question of whether soy is helpful or harmful as a "raging controversy" among scientists. And if the experts are stymied, what are the rest of us to do?
Edamame, or green soybeans, are picked before they are fully mature. Steamed and salted, they make a delicious snack food.
The Good News
The Bad News
The Natural Answer
Sources of Soy
How Much Soy Should You Eat?