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Diet & Nutrition
Updated on 3 November 2023
Are you wondering whether it is safe to eat soybean in pregnancy or not? An excellent source of protein, soybean in pregnancy comes with its fair share of benefits and risks. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about eating soybeans in pregnancy, its benefits, risks and tips.
Soybean, or Soya bean, is an edible legume native to East Asia. It is often used by vegetarians as a replacement for meat because it is a rich source of protein. It is a complete protein as it has all nine essential amino acids. Soybeans are available in many forms and contain antioxidants and phytonutrients. They provide multiple health benefits. However, there are concerns about its side effects. Soybean in pregnancy - is it good or bad.
Yes, it is safe to eat soybean during pregnancy if you take them moderately. Soya bean is available in many forms. Each has its advantages and concerns, including soya chunks. Is soya chunk good for pregnant ladies? Soya chunks during pregnancy are a good source of protein but have a high content of isoflavones that increases estrogen levels. So, too much consumption of soya chunks in pregnancy is not advisable. Tofu has more antioxidants than chunks but too much tofu increases the risk of breast cancer. Soy milk has lesser calories than tofu but too much soy milk can cause digestion problems and constipation. Soyabean during pregnancy is safe if cooked properly and used moderately.
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Protein is the main component of soybeans. It contains other nutrients too. What are they?
The nutritional value of 100 grams of boiled soybeans is as follows:
It contains 18.2 grams of protein, the main component. The protein content is 36 to 56% of the dry weight.
Carbohydrates are about 8.4 grams. It has a low glycemic index. So, there is no danger of a sharp spike in sugar levels.
The fat content is 9 grams. It can be split into 1.3 grams of saturated fat, 1.98 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 5.06 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Linoleic acid is the main fat in soybeans.
The fibre content is 6 grams. It has both soluble and insoluble fibres.
Sugar is about 3 grams.
It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. It has 510 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per half cup of serving.
Apart from the above, it contains a wide variety of minerals like manganese, copper, folate, thiamine, phosphorus, and vitamin K1.
The calorie count in 100 grams of soybeans is 172.
Eating soya in pregnancy provides a lot of benefits.
As it is a rich source of protein, it ensures the right growth of the baby's organs including the brain. Moreover, it increases the blood and oxygen supply to the baby.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important because they act as building blocks of the baby's brain and retina. It also prevents perinatal depression.
The fibre content improves digestion.
The minerals in soybeans provide a lot of health benefits and provide nutrition to the foetus.
Carbohydrates increase energy levels.
Folate and zinc keep birth defects at bay.
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Isoflavones in soybeans are phytoestrogens and have the same properties as human estrogens. Too much consumption of soybeans during pregnancy can affect the growth of the baby.
It also has phytic acid which is good because it blocks the absorption of harmful metals like lead and mercury. However, it can also block the absorption of minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. They are all essential minerals during pregnancy and help in the growth of the foetus.
Pesticide residue present in soybeans can cause hormonal imbalance that is not good during pregnancy. It should be rinsed well before cooking.
As soya beans increase the estrogen levels in your body, it increases the risk of cancer, especially, breast cancer.
The studies on soya chunks in pregnancy are not conclusive. Some of the studies were conducted on animals and rats. However, here are the reports of the studies.
In 2102 a study was made and it warned that there are concerns about the phytoestrogens in soya affecting the reproductive health of the baby.
A study conducted in 2013 shows that babies are at risk of getting a urological disorder called hypospadias because of the overconsumption of soya beans. Another study done on rats in 2016 points out that too much soya beans may affect the immunity system of the baby, especially, in female children. So, it is better to avoid too much consumption of soya during pregnancy.
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There are no official limitations to how much soybeans a pregnant woman can consume. However, experts recommend one cup of soymilk or half a cup of tofu or half a cup of soy chunks, or half a cup of whole soybean in pregnancy. If you take more than the recommended dose, it may cause a few side effects. It is better to consult a doctor to get specific recommendations on how much soy to eat during pregnancy.
1. Pang X, Cai C, Dong H, Lan X, Zhang Y, Bai D, Hao L, Sun H, Li F, Zeng G. (2022). Soy foods and nuts consumption during early pregnancy are associated with decreased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med.
2. Miyake Y, Tanaka K, Okubo H, Sasaki S, Tokinobu A, Arakawa M. (2021). Maternal consumption of soy and isoflavones during pregnancy and risk of childhood behavioural problems: the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study. Int J Food Sci Nutr.
A working mother with more than two decades of experience in writing for the publishing industry and digital space, Loveleen Gupta loves dabbling in creative writing also. A graduate from Miranda House, she uses her personal experiences to express herself.Read More
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