Healthy Unhealthy Foods
- The Dangers of Unfermented Soybeans

soybeans and soybean plant

Healthy unhealthy foods is about the health benefits of fermented soybeans and the dangers of consuming modern-day soybeans.  Soybeans are a complete protein food that is promoted by vegans and vegetarians as being a replacement for animal protein. 

However, soybeans are rich in trypsin inhibitors which block the action of trypsin.  And trypsin is needed for the proper breakdown of proteins.  Therefore, improperly prepared soybeans won't give you much protein!

Trypsin inhibitors is only one of the anti-nutrients found in soybeans.  Soy which is short for soybeans can also come with a lot of estrogen which is one of the potential dangers of consuming soy.  The dangers of soy are quite controversial and some people believe that it's a health food and then there are others that wouldn't touch healthy unhealthy foods like soy with a ten foot pole.

Healthy Unhealthy Foods like Soy
Should be Fermented!

Unfermented soy is one of the foods responsible for a majority of food allergies and it is also a food most commonly associated with food allergies in children.   People with a soy allergy or soy intolerance can suffer everything from hives to breathing difficulties upon eating this healthy unhealthy food.

You'll find a lot of unfermented and highly processed soy foods at your local grocery stores these days.  These products are typically sold as animal food replacements in the form of soy milk, soy cheese, soy burgers, soy protein powders, and tofu.

However, healthier fermented soybean products that are available in Asia and in America include Natto, Miso, Traditional Soy Sauce, and Tempeh.

Fermentation increases the digestibility of soy especially with its proteins.  And fermentation increases the concentration of bio-active peptides which are formed during the breakdown of soy.

Fermentation of soybeans also increases important minerals found in soy like copper, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.  Without fermentation, anti-nutrients like phytic acid and trypsin inhibitors would prevent protein and most of these minerals from being utilized by your body.

The fermentation process also greatly reduces the oligosaccharides that make healthy unhealthy foods hard to digest for some people.  Fermentation helps to reduce the gas or flatulence that occurs when consuming beans and legumes.  And the process of fermentation makes soybeans softer because the enzymes produced by the micro-organisms predigests a large portion of soybean's basic nutrients.

The Protein Content in Soybeans

Soybeans are a legume that contains all of the 9 essential amino acids and a few of the non-essential amino acids.  Although, one or two of the essential amino acids are relatively low in soybeans such as methionine a sulfur containing amino acid.

However, there does appear to be small and unique proteins in soy called peptides (chain of amino acids) that may provide you with added health benefits.  These health benefits may include better blood sugar control and improved immune function.

Fermented soy foods like tempeh will have more bio-active protein peptides than non-fermented soy foods.  And healthy unhealthy foods unique proteins are broken down by micro-organisms during the fermentation process which increases their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and blood pressure lowering properties.

The Health Benefits of Tempeh

  • 1 cup of tempeh will give you 31 grams of bio-available protein
  • Unpasteurized tempeh is a whole food that contains enzymes and has a firm texture that offers a rich earthy flavor similar to mushrooms
  • It's also a great source of nutrients like manganese, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, and the isoflavone Genistein which can increase tumor suppressor proteins
  • Tempeh is a low sodium food unlike miso and soy sauce
  • Wide range of unique proteins, peptides, and phyto-nutrients are found in unpasteurized organic tempeh

Studies show that tempeh helps to promote muscle recovery, reduces "bad" cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, strengthens bones, fights inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar, reduces symptoms of PMS, and boosts immunity.

In a well stocked health food store, tempeh will come in a variety of forms.  You can buy pre-cooked tempeh or unpasteurized tempeh that you can cook before eating.  And you'll be able to find plain soy tempeh, tempeh made with different grains, and flavored tempeh. 

Tempeh can be cooked and used in many different ways.  Stir fry tempeh with some vegetables or make grilled tempeh kebabs.   Tempeh burgers are also a popular way to consume tempeh.  Be sure to look for tempeh that's covered with a thin whitish bloom and is tightly bound.  And only buy organic tempeh that is non-GMO! 

You can also make tempeh at home with the right tempeh starter.  Tempeh is made by soaking, hulling, and slightly boiling soybeans.  Then they are inoculated with Rhizopus molds and kept at a steady temperature of about 88 degrees F. for a day or two which allows the mold to form spores that partially digest the soybeans.  BTW, if you are sensitive to mold spores, tempeh may not be a good choice for you.

The Dangers of Unfermented Soybeans

Phytic Acid

Soybeans are high in phytic acid, which is present in the bran of the soybean.  They are naturally present in all grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.

Phytic acid or phytates can block the uptake of essential minerals such calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in your intestinal tract.

This healthy unhealthy food has one of the highest phytic acid levels!  The phytic acid in soybeans are highly resistant to normal reducing techniques. 

However, de-hulling and fermentation reduces phytic acid content in healthy unhealthy foods like soybeans.

Oxalic Acid

Soybeans are also high in oxalic acid aka oxalates.  These oxalate compounds can form needle shaped crystals or stones in your body.

Oxalates in large quantities can have a very negative effect on your body as they accumulate inside you.

These sharp crystals can wedge themselves into tissues almost anywhere in your body causing much damage and inflammation.

Soluble oxalates can be reduced by boiling and the process of fermentation will do an even better job at reducing all oxalates.

Trypsin Inhibitors

Trypsin is a digestive enzyme that we need to properly digest protein.  Without trypsin, you’ll soon experience serious gastric problems including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding.

Without trypsin, you'll also experience reduced protein digestion and deficiencies of amino acids.  And this will put an enormous stress on your pancreas.

Trypsin inhibitors are considered growth inhibitors and are not completely deactivated during cooking. 

Soybeans will need to be fermented to remove this anti-nutrient.

Lectins

Lectins are a particularly nasty type of anti-nutrient that likes to bind to a specific type of carbohydrate in your cell membranes.

Legumes like soybeans contain high amounts of lectins.  Consuming large amounts of lectins can damage your gut lining. 

And once lectins have gained access to your circulation, they will bind to the cell membranes in your arteries, organs, and glands.

Lectins can create intestinal upset similar to food poisoning and rashes.  Soaking, cooking, and fermenting will reduce the amount of lectins found in soybeans.

GMO Soybeans

It has been said that 90% of the soybeans grown these days in the United States are GMO.  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms.  And one of the biggest problems that come with GMOs is that these crops are sprayed with harmful herbicides like Roundup.

GMO soybeans are known to come with more anti-nutrients along with harmful toxins.  It is very important to only buy organic soybean products that have been properly fermented! 

Soybeans and Estrogen

Phytoestrogens are found in plant foods such as beans, seeds, and grains.  Soy is higher in phytoestrogens than just about any other food source on the planet.

Phytoestrogens are plant based estrogens that copy estrogen in our bodies and may either have the same effect as estrogen or block estrogen.

Apparently the soy industry has been very busy publishing studies which indicate phytoestrogens are good for you.

However, independent research has shown that consuming excess phytoestrogens may actually do your body more harm than good.

Sadly, Infant soy formulas contain a very high amount of these phytoestrogens which could equal taking 10 contraceptive pills a day.  High amounts of phytoestrogens has been linked to infertility and thyroid problems.

Goitrogens

Goitrogens are substances that depress your thyroid function.  They are found in soybeans and in vegetables such as kale and cabbage. 

Goitrogens work by preventing your thyroid from getting enough iodine which is an essential nutrient for your thyroid gland.  And this important gland is very connected to your metabolism and your energy level.

Fermenting soybeans increases isoflavones by freeing them from sugars to which they are conjoined.  And these isoflavones are known to be goitrogenic.

However, as long as you eat soy in moderation and have sufficient iodine in your diet - this should not be a problem.

This healthy unhealthy food called soy originates from China and then spread to Japan and other countries.  It arrived in America some 150 or so years ago and was grown to feed livestock.  America is now the largest producer of healthy unhealthy foods such as soybeans.

Healthy unhealthy foods like soybeans come with a decent amount of fat, but mainly in the form of Omega 6.  Too much omega 6 in your diet is known to contribute to inflammation!  And what's really scary is that processed soy foods like textured soy protein used to create "fake animal foods" have no real history of consumption in the world and so the question becomes....."Do you want to be the guinea pig?".

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