Despite what you may have heard, soy is not the “health food” you think it is if you are trying to conceive or nourish yourself effectively during pregnancy. So put down your soy latte and read on…
Unfortunately there is outdated nutrition advice promoting soy as a fertility food is one example. Read through the following reasons to learn why you should limit your soy intake, during and after pregnancy.
Reasons to Avoid Soy in Pregnancy
Soy is Genetically Modified
Most soy available in the US and Australia is GMO (genetically modified organism). Farmers spray these GMO soy plants in high doses of pesticides. The spray is performed in such a way that it can kill the normal soy without doing it any harm. Therefore, harvested soy contains very high amounts of pesticide residues and this accounts for the highest contamination among all our foods (Food Chemistry, 2014). What is also notable, is that GMO food has never been tested for safety for pregnant women.
Soy Inhibits Mineral Absorption
Minerals play an important part in the development of an unborn baby. They are responsible for your baby’s skeleton and teeth development. Minerals also help maintain normal blood sugar levels and help in the development of your baby’s brain. All of this is inhibited with large intakes of soy, as soy is high in phytic acid, a substance that prevents the absorption of essential minerals – including magnesium, zinc, calcium, copper, and iron.
High levels of Aluminum
Soybeans are acid washed and processed in aluminum tanks, so most soy products contain high levels of aluminum. The most commercial soy product is, tofu, which is pressed in aluminum boxes – this final product is leached with high quantities of aluminum.
Alarmingly aluminum has no beneficial effects. Rather it has been accountable for accumulation in the human brain and linked to causing neurological problems (Environmental Research, 2002). A study conducted on mice also showed that aluminum promptly transfers across the placenta, and is toxic for placental and uterine cells (JBUMS, 2005).
Not only pregnant women, large amounts of soy for the human population in general should be avoided – including parents, health conscious individuals and those trying to conceive.
Let’s get to know why:
Soy products are high in oligosaccharides – a carbohydrate that most people’s digestive systems find very hard to process. Oligosaccharides create issues like gastric uneasiness, bloating and gas.
Some of soy’s components include genistein, glycetein, and daidzein. These elements imitate hormones such as estrogen and may be responsible for disruption of your endocrine function, which can in turn affect fertility. Studies have also shown that soy isoflavones raise cell proliferation in the breast and can increase the risk for cancer.
Personally, I chose to avoid most soy during pregnancy, with the exception of occasional gluten free soy sauce, miso, and edamame both made from organically grown soybeans.
Currently, soy is still not a staple food in my nutrition. There is plenty of information available about soy so please do your own research and make an informed decision for yourself.
If you are going to consume soy, keep quantities limited – moderation is key. Or even better choose only organic soy. Organic soy seed cannot be genetically engineered and they are exposed to lesser pesticide dose than conventional yield.