Wellness Foods

Soyfoods Not a Panacea

Soyfoods are not a panacea, and many questions about their health effects remain.

By Mark Messina, Ph.D.

According to Datamonitor, soy product sales more than tripled in Western Europe in the period 2001-2006. Sales in the U.S. nearly doubled in the same time period. The broader nutritional benefits associated with soy (which led to its superfood classification) is a key driver. Mark Messina, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading authorities on soy and health, reports on the legume’s growing popularity, despite perceived setbacks from recent research.

“The potential health benefits of soyfoods continue to attract the attention of researchers,” says Messina. “In past months results from three clinical studies in particular were especially impressive. One found that over a two-year period, bone density in postmenopausal women who consumed one of the phytoestrogens from soy increased significantly whereas the bones of women in the placebo group became weaker. Another study found that over an eight-week period, soynuts markedly lowered blood pressure in women with both normal and elevated blood pressure.

“In the third study, soyfoods were shown to favorably impact several abnormalities common to women with metabolic syndrome. Soyfoods are not a panacea and many questions about their health effects remain. But surely, those concerned about their health would be well-advised to make them a part of their diet.”

Mark Messina, Ph.D., is president of Nutrition Matters Inc. and an adjunct associate professor in the Dept. of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Calif.

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