Soy Milk Benefits and A Recipe for Avoiding the Cons
Recent research has revealed that soy milk benefits are quite comparable to that of cow’s milk. However, if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, no one can blame you for being cautious about this latest development. After all, there is much to be concerned about when it comes to soy milk and how it can compromise adrenal health and trigger adrenal exhaustion. Fortunately, there is a way to make soy milk a healthier and safer drink for your adrenal glands. The key is in how it is prepared.
The Latest Report on Soy Milk Benefits
A recent study conducted by McGill University in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Canada, has a lot of people discussing soy milk benefits.
The study comes at a time when there is much talk about milk allergy and lactose intolerance throughout the United States and the world. The discussion is becoming prevalent for good reason. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institute of Health, as many as 30 to 50 million American adults are suffering from lactose intolerance. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology also estimates that around two to three percent of children who are younger than three years old suffer from a milk allergy.
Because of these issues, it has become important to find an alternative to cow’s milk that supplies the body with the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy. These include calcium, vitamin D, protein, potassium, phosphorus, and a whole lot of other essential nutrients.
For anyone with lactose intolerance or allergy to cow’s milk, the best way to get these milk nutrients without experiencing intolerance or allergy symptoms is by drinking alternative plant-based milks or even goat’s milk. While both types of cow’s milk alternatives may be widely available in the market today, the study had found that there is little information regarding the nutritional value of plant-based milks when consumed in the short-term and long-term. Hence, the study attempted to shed more light on the matter.
For research purposes, authors Sai Kranthi Vanga and Vijaya Raghavan closely examined the four most commonly consumed plant-based milk beverages: coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk. Based on their review, it was found that soy milk had a comparable nutrient balance to cow’s milk. Hence, soy milk benefits the body better than other plant-based milks. In addition, the authors also found that soy milk had the highest protein content among all the cow’s milk alternatives, guaranteeing between seven to 12 grams in an eight-ounce serving.
As promising as this development is, however, there are many who may still hesitate to drink soy milk daily. Many are concerned about adrenal health and soy. That’s because, although beneficial, soy milk may still be harmful to the adrenal glands so long as it remains unfermented.
Fermented vs. Unfermented Soy
Soy is a plant-based food that possesses both good and bad properties. It all depends on the type of soy that you are including in your diet.
Generally, there are two types of soy products: fermented and unfermented. Both may be a rich source of protein. However, they tend to affect your overall health in significantly different ways.
Fermented Soy Foods
Fermented soy refers to soy products that went through a long fermentation process. Doing so allows for the breakdown of several harmful antinutrients. These substances tend to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. In addition, fermenting soy before consuming it also makes it easier for the body to digest.
Fermented soy is also rich in probiotics. These good bacteria provide nourishment to the gut, improving digestion and nutrient absorption. Fermented soy products also happen to be a rich source of vitamin K2, which the body needs to metabolize calcium and support both cardiovascular and bone health.
Some of the most common fermented soy products are miso, tempeh, and natto. While these foods are a common feature in Asian diets, Western diets typically lack fermented soy. Instead, it tends to focus more foods on that utilize unfermented soy.
Unfermented Soy Foods
As the name suggests, unfermented soy products are those that had never undergone the fermentation process prior to being offered for consumption. This poses some problems to health.
For starters, since it has not undergone fermentation, this type of soy still carries a host of harmful antinutrients. These include enzyme inhibitors that interfere with the body’s ability to properly digest protein. In addition, unfermented soy also contains large amounts of phytic acid, which can block the utilization of minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and calcium in the intestinal tract.
Aside from this, unfermented soy also contains a significant amount of phytoestrogens. These are plant compounds that tend to resemble actual human estrogen and affect ovarian hormone balance. In fact, they can readily block your body’s normal estrogen and even disrupt your endocrine function. Phytoestrogens may also cause infertility and even increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer.
At the same time, unfermented soy products also have a tendency to worsen adrenal fatigue. The consumption of this type of soy can compromise a number of functions in the body and, as a result, trigger chronic stress.
Unfermented Soy and Adrenal Fatigue
In addition to the above problems, unfermented soy also has a tendency to cause problems for the thyroid glands. This, in turn, disrupts adrenal gland function.
Today, thyroid disorders are becoming increasingly common. In fact, the American Thyroid Association reports that as many as 20 million Americans are already suffering from thyroid disorders, with more than 12 percent of the population are expected to develop a thyroid condition at some point during their lifetime. When you have a thyroid problem and you decide to take unfermented soy, adrenal exhaustion can occur.
When a person experiences a state of stress, the body response by way of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system. This system activates several major glands in the body, including the adrenal glands and thyroid glands.
To deal with stress and help you fight or flee, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol. This is known as the body’s primary stress hormone. So long as the stress continues, the adrenals maintain elevated levels of cortisol in the body.
As this continues, it can eventually cause your thyroid and adrenal glands can become overworked and stressed. When stress becomes chronic, it may result in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
Because of this, consuming unfermented soy is not a good idea, especially if your thyroid health is already compromised. If you want to consume soy regularly, it would be best to opt for fermented soy.
How Fermented Soy Milk Can Aid Adrenal Recovery
Consuming milk that has already been fermented does not put any added stress on your thyroid and adrenal glands. Fermenting soy milk involves the introduction of yeast, bacteria strains, and organic acids into the milk. Based on available studies, fermentation of soy milk has been done with lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria.
Due to the fermentation process, the antinutrients in soy milk are destroyed. As a result, the milk also becomes much easier to digest. Therefore, you are able to get all of the amazing soy milk benefits without having to worry about your thyroid and adrenal glands. Fermented soy milk even helps with overcoming stress and relieving adrenal fatigue.
One study found that fermented soy milk is capable of reducing oxidative stress effects in animals. Another study conducted in Malaysia also found that fermented soy milk shows significant potential in combating oxidative stress.
In addition, a study conducted in Spain found that soy milk’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential are further increased when fermented with enterococcus faecium strains which had been isolated from raw soy milk. On the other hand, a study conducted by the National Taiwan University found that spray-drying fermented soy milk causes a decrease in antioxidative properties. Nonetheless, dried fermented soy milk has significantly greater antioxidative properties than dried unfermented soy milk.
Before you get soy milk benefits through making fermented soy milk a daily addition to your diet, however, it is best to consult with your physician or nutritionist. Allergies are possible, and even more likely if you have adrenal fatigue or thyroid issues. Some symptoms of this include abdominal pain, skin redness, tingling in the mouth, itching, hives, wheezing and even swelling of the tongue, throat, face, and lips. To be on the safe side, it certainly helps to rule out soy allergy before making fermented soy milk a part of daily diet.
Easy Recipe for Homemade Fermented Soy Milk
While it’s possible to purchase fermented soy milk from your local supermarket or farmer’s market, you can also try making a fermented soy milk drink at home with the help of kefir. This is the best way to get the soy milk benefits for your adrenals. This incredibly easy recipe can get you started:
- 2 cups soy milk (sweetened)
- ¼ cup water kefir
- In a clean glass jar, combine the soy milk and the water kefir.
- Cover the jar with a lid and store at room temperature for around 24 hours.
After the fermentation period, the kefir fermented soy milk can be consumed immediately. While you can store this in the refrigerator, keep in mind that it will continue to ferment at low temperatures. Hence, you might see a separation between the liquid and the soy curd and a slightly thicker consistency, similar to yogurt.
As you can see, making your own fermented soy milk at home is quite easy. It takes very few ingredients and also requires very little effort. And the best part is, you get all the amazing soy milk benefits without having to worry about how antinutrients can harm your adrenals.
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
What are some of the important soy milk benefits?
A recent report revealed that soy milk has a nutritional content that is comparable to cow’s milk. It also offers a significant amount of protein in every serving. When fermented, soy milk has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress and provide probiotics, helping your body combat adrenal fatigue and even aiding in adrenal recovery.