Soybean food for pregnant women, is it safe?– Soybeans are a common ingredient found in various dishes. Being part of the legume family, soybeans are a plant-based source of protein with a low saturated fat content and high dietary fiber.
During pregnancy, mothers-to-be might question whether incorporating soy into their daily diet is safe for both themselves and their developing fetus.
The good news is that soy is one of the legumes that is safe for consumption during pregnancy. This is because soy offers various benefits for pregnancy. However, there are risks associated with consuming excessively processed soy foods that should be avoided.
According to Healthline, here’s a summarized overview of the benefits, risks, and recommended safe soy intake for pregnant mothers.
1. Benefits of consuming processed soy foods and beverages during pregnancy
People residing in Asia tend to consume more processed soy products compared to those on other continents. A study in 2020 suggested that this could be one reason why Asian populations have lower risks of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Here are some benefits to consuming processed soy products:
Improves mood: Eating foods containing soy can help pregnant mothers avoid the stress that is commonly experienced. Soybeans are known to effectively enhance mood. A study in Japan in 2018 claimed that pregnant women who consumed more soy products experienced lower levels of depression during pregnancy.
Manages blood sugar: Soy can be an ideal food for pregnant women with a history of gestational diabetes. It helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the body.
Good protein source: During pregnancy, an intake of at least 60 grams of protein per day is recommended. Soy is a great choice as it provides plant-based protein and is essential for improving nutritional intake during pregnancy.
Prevents anemia: Anemia is a common condition experienced by many pregnant women, leading to weakness, fatigue, headaches, and more. A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that regular consumption of tofu had a positive impact on lowering anemia levels.
However, if a mother is suffering from anemia, it’s important not to solely rely on soy products. Always consult with a healthcare professional to receive the best advice.
2. Risks or side effects of consuming excessive soy
Although soy contains beneficial elements for pregnant women, the risks of excessive consumption should not be ignored. Based on research from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, soy-based foods might contain heavy minerals like cadmium, which is considered toxic.
Researchers found that consuming a large amount of tofu could lead to higher cadmium concentrations in the urine of premenopausal women. Another major factor contributing to excess cadmium is smoking. Cadmium is also found in other foods beneficial for pregnant women, such as shellfish and legumes.
However, it’s important to note that avoiding all foods containing cadmium could result in missing out on other valuable nutrients.
3. Recommended soy intake for pregnant mothers
As per guidelines published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, moderate consumption of soy is generally safe for pregnant women. There is no official recommendation regarding the specific limits of soy consumption during pregnancy.
For reference, moderate soy intake could include:
- 1 cup of soy milk
- ½ cup of tofu
- ½ cup of tempeh
- ½ cup of edamame
It’s essential to consider that each pregnant mother has unique health conditions that may affect their ideal soy intake.
If a mother intends to include soy as a part of her daily pregnancy diet, it’s recommended to consult with an obstetrician regarding the safe soy consumption amount.
A 2019 research review suggests that mothers can consume various soy types, particularly fermented options like tempeh and tofu, as these are known to be more easily digestible by the body.
In conclusion, these are the insights about the benefits, risks, and safe soy intake guidelines for pregnant mothers. Hopefully, this information will provide valuable knowledge for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.