Many women who are trying to eat a healthy diet during pregnancy wonder if soy should be a part of a healthy pregnancy diet. While soy products are often touted as health foods and are marketed as such, the truth is that they have no rightful place in any healthy diet, but especially a healthy pregnancy diet. There are two main reasons that soy should not be included in your diet during pregnancy: phytic acid and phytoestrogens.

Phytic Acid: This is a naturally occurring toxin that is found in whole grain products and soy. The main negative point of phytic acid is that it binds with valuable minerals like magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and calcium. When phytic acid binds with these minerals in the digestive system, the minerals are unable to be absorbed and utilized by the body. A diet that includes any significant amount of phytic acid can then cause deficiencies in these vital minerals, which in turn causes serious problems with pregnancy and for the growing baby.

Phytoestrogens: Phytoestrogens are plant hormones that the human body can interpret as the hormone estrogen. They are found in many different types of plants, but they are found in particularly large concentrations in soy beans and soy products. Once they are in your body, phytoestrogens can cause hormonal imbalances and cause problems like pale skin and hair loss. These plant hormones can also impair conception because they cause hormonal imbalances, and properly balanced hormones are essential for successful conception and a healthy pregnancy.

Is Soy Ever Acceptable?

While a healthy pregnancy diet including soy as the main source of protein is not possible, there are some types of soy that are more acceptable. These include soy products which are fermented, which makes them more digestible and also eliminates some of the phytic acid. Miso, tempeh, soy sauce, and fermented soy drinks are all in this category. Adding these fermented products into your diet once in a while is fine, but avoid adding them into your everyday diet.

Maybe you’re wondering now what else you should avoid during your healthy pregnancy diet, or what you should include in your healthy diet during pregnancy. To find out more about important dietary concerns during pregnancy, check out Healing Our Children. This book includes diet advice gleaned from the ancient wisdom of indigenous diets, which have worked for our ancestors for centuries to produce healthy women and healthy babies.