Heather Waxman graduated from Framingham State University with a BS in nutrition and a minor in journalism. She is passionate about helping others become the best version of themselves through plant-based nutrition, challenging workouts, and a positive body image. For more information on Heather and her refreshing outlook on life, visit her blog, For the Love of Kale.

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Heather Waxman

by Heather Waxman, Nutrition Counselor & Healthy Living Blogger
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Is Soy Safe To Eat?

There has been a lot of conflicting press about soy. It seems that many people are concerned about their soy consumption but aren't quite sure as to why. Let's dive in, shall we?

What is Soy?

Soy comes from the edamame plant. Edamame kind of looks like snap peas only, instead of peas, there are soybeans inside of the pod. Tofu, tempeh, soymilks, and a myriad of commercial soy products can be made by coagulating (tofu) or fermenting (tempeh or tofu) the soybeans. The fermentation process consists of soaking and boiling the soybeans before letting them sit and harden into tempeh.

Does Soy Cause Breast Cancer?

This is one of the biggest misconceptions out there. I will clarify it for you now: soy does not cause breast cancer and soy does not contain estrogen. Sigh. Don’t you feel better?

Soy does contain isoflavones (also called phytoestrogens), which have a structure similar to estrogen’s but not similar enough for them to have equal effects in our bodies. Isoflavones exhibit different effects in different tissues; they might have an estrogen-like effect, anti-estrogen effect, or no effect at all. There have not been any comprehensive studies on isoflavones’ effects but you can bet there is currently a ton of research underway. Given soy’s plant origin and combined cholesterol and blood pressure-lowering properties, I am willing to bet it’s in the clear.

Research has been conducted in patients who already have breast cancer and are taking a specific cancer drug called tamoxifen. The cancer drug, coupled with soy protein intake, leads to increased tumor growth. So, ...    Continue

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