What are the benefits of soy protein? Is it safe to have during pregnancy? This article deals with the benefits and potential side effects of soy.
Pregnant women need to have a balanced and nutritious diet in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Including all the essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients in the diet is beneficial for proper growth of the fetus. Therefore, doctors advise pregnant women to follow a healthy diet which is rich in nutrients. One of the essential elements or nutrients to be included in the pregnant diet is proteins. Proteins are known as building blocks of the body, and are essential for overall growth and development.
However, if you take a look at the sources of proteins, you will find that most of the foods rich in proteins are animal sources like eggs, lean meats and lean fish. Secondly, proteins are also obtained from beans and lentils. But, if you are looking for a rich vegan protein source, then nothing can beat soy protein.
Benefits of Soy Protein in Pregnancy
Soy protein is the protein obtained from soy beans. One of its many benefits is that it is a complete protein because it contains all the essential amino acids. Soy proteins are as good as any meat based proteins, and hence, are considered as one of the best sources of proteins for vegetarians. Soy proteins provide energy to the cells and hence, are beneficial for pregnant women. They do not contain any cholesterol, and are also very low in calories and saturated fat. Therefore, they can be considered as a safe and healthy protein for pregnant women. It is believed that regular consumption of soy protein increases chances of having normal delivery.
Secondly, soy is a versatile product and can be consumed in different forms. You can have soy milk, soy protein powder, soy protein shake, tofu, soy yogurt, soy desserts, soy cheese, etc. Therefore, including soy foods in your daily diet is easier. Secondly, tofu can be added in a variety of foods like burgers, salads, etc.
There are several soy products available in the market that are fortified with other minerals like calcium, iron, etc. Therefore, along with soy protein, you can also gain other essential minerals by including these fortified products in your diet. On the other hand, soy proteins are also believed to reduce the risk of certain diseases like breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart diseases.
Side Effects of Soy Protein
Now, although there are several health benefits associated with soy, many women wonder is it safe to drink soy milk during pregnancy? Well, according to some researchers, having soy protein can lead to some side effects. Some researchers claim than soy can increase your risk of having cancer. However, this claim seems contradictory to the claimed benefits of soy. But, there is no evidence to prove the claim that soy is actually dangerous to health.
Secondly, some women may experience nausea, abdominal pain or rash on consuming soy products. This may be because of an allergic reaction of soy. Soy allergy is quite rare; however, we cannot ignore the possibility of the same. Therefore, it is essential to know whether you are allergic to soy protein or not, and only then consume soy based products. Thirdly, it is wise to consult a doctor before having soy protein powder in pregnancy, as it works like a protein supplement. Supplements should be taken only under medical guidance.
We conclude by saying that although there may be potential side effects associated with soy protein, there is no strong evidence to prove it. On the contrary, the large number of benefits makes it one of the best protein based foods. But, it is recommended to have limited amounts of soy in daily diet. However, to be on the safer side, it is advisable to consult a doctor, and only then include soy foods in your daily diet. Take care!