We’ve all heard the lies about soy: it’s terrible for you in general, causes cancer, infertility, and “man boobs,” and should be avoided at all costs.
Fortunately, all of this is false, and what is true is the opposite. Soy is terrific, especially for plant-based eaters, because it’s an excellent source of plant-based protein, high in vital elements such as iron, zinc, and calcium. It may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
We hope we’ve persuaded you that soy should be a staple in your diet for various reasons. To delve even deeper into the benefits of soy foods, this piece investigates whether they are beneficial or detrimental to overall gut health.
If you’ve ever questioned if eating tempeh, tofu, or edamame is causing bloating, gas, or bowel problems, keep reading!
What Is Gut Health and Gut Microbiome?
Your gastrointestinal system, which includes the stomach, intestines, and colon, is your gut. It digests, absorbs, and excretes waste from food. There is no single definition of gut health, and it can signify different things to different academics, medical experts, and community members. However, we define gut health as having a healthy gut flora.
In the large intestine, there are over 200 distinct species of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Your gut microbiome consists of bacteria and other microorganisms. The bacteria aid in the breakdown of food, converting it into nutrients that your body can utilize. Significantly, the type of bacteria in your digestive tract can be influenced by various variables, including the foods you eat. What you consume can have short-term and long-term consequences on the environment of your gut microbiota.
General Gut Health
The need to preserve good health is more crucial than ever as we all struggle with the aftereffects of a fading epidemic, other global health issues, and the demands of daily life. One of the most vital factors in controlling well-being is gut health. Apart from being the primary portal for nutrition absorption and processing, the gut influences the neurological and immune systems, mental health, and digestive function.
Recent research indicates that gut health influences everything within the body. Consequently, maintaining good gut health – the billions of bacteria that live within the microbiota – at all times is critical. Both good and bad bacteria exist within the microbiota and have a symbiotic interaction with the body for optimal functioning, preventing the risk of metabolic illnesses. As a result, microbial variety is critical, and nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining this equilibrium.
Effect Of Soy On Your Gut Health
Recent research has demonstrated that innovative soy products has a considerable favorable influence on gut bacteria. Soy meals are among the few plant foods with all nine essential amino acids. They are gaining popularity for their many health benefits and because they can improve gastrointestinal health. It has been shown that eating soy foods increases the amounts of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli (a type of probiotic bacteria found in the digestive tract), shifting the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes and preserving microbial equilibrium.
These microbiota alterations, therefore, aid in the reduction of harmful bacteria populations in the gut. It results in lowering the risk of disorders such as immunological deficiencies, allergies, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Notably, soy milk is one soy-based product that is considered beneficial to intestinal health. Certain gut bacteria can utilize the nutrients in soy milk and positively alter the microbiota composition.
Moreover, soy milk is a great dairy substitute for people with severe lactose intolerance or inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), and it can help reduce inflammation and digestive pain. Tofu, another protein-rich soy by-product, is also known to supply pre- and pro-biotics to gut microbes. While soy’s high protein content provides energy and nitrogen to gut bacteria, its oligosaccharides and fiber content are known to have prebiotic properties. Furthermore, various fermented soy foods, including soy milk, tofu, soy paste, and even soy sauce, have been shown to have health-promoting properties enhanced by fermentation.
Food fermentation uses microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, or both, which not only enhance the nutritional content of the food by improving digestion but also make it a good source of pre- and pro-biotics. This boosts the food’s anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its gastrointestinal tract and immune system health.
Soy is a fantastic source of Vitamin C, folate, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, in addition to its general impact on intestinal health and high protein content. It is also low in saturated carbohydrates and fat and is well-known for its isoflavone content, which has antioxidant effects. Remarkably, soy is now regarded as a superfood due to its numerous advantages that directly affect intestinal health and its high nutritional value.
We’ve already established that soy foods benefit your overall health. They are ideal for plant-based eaters due to their high protein, vitamin, and mineral content. Moreover, they also have the ability to lower the risk of chronic diseases. Soy’s ability to improve intestinal health can now be added to this list. If you suspect soy is causing your GI problems, you must consult a gastroenterologist, a trained nutritionist, and maybe an allergist to figure out what’s going on. You could suffer from IBS, a soy allergy, or something else. If you tolerate soy well, we hope you enjoy daily soy milk, tempeh, tofu, edamame, soy curls, and miso-covered meals.