Soy What's the Deal Yo? Soy Products and Fertility 411
Can I Have Soy When Trying To Get Pregnant?
You're eating organic, limiting or cutting out caffeine and alcohol, and treating every ailment that comes your way with lavender, lemon juice, and olive oil. Maybe you've even swapped out your deodorant for coconut oil (hardcore, Dudette). Your body is a temple. So naturally, soy products like tofu seem like the obvious choice, yes? Short answer: they're not. And this goes for your partner too.
Studies have shown that Genistein, a sperm-compromising compound found in all soy products, can present fertility issues if present in the female tract.* Soy (or more specifically the isoflavone concentration in soy) is capable of significantly lowering sperm concentration in males. The compound also has a damaging effect if exposed to sperm after ejaculation, which is why women need to be conscious of it in their system, as well as their partners.
It's recommended that women avoid soy during ovulation, and limit it the rest of the month if trying to conceive. Men should avoid it altogether, at least while trying for said bebé.
Vegetarian and vegans- we have not forgotten about you! Here are some great tofu alternatives:
- Seitan. Wheat-gluten/meat doppelganger that soaks up flavor like you wouldn't believe. This is the stuff at Asian restaurants that's listed as "gluten" on the menu and never ceases to amaze.
- Field Roast. A company that sources vegan, grain-based faux meat for European and Asian cuisine. Think meatloaf, or turkey dinner for the holidays- al la veg.
- Bahama Rice Burger: Soy AND gluten free. Flavors include Pineapple Mango, Jerkin' Spice, and Mediterranean. Glory Glory.
- Amy's California Veggie Burger. Because Amy's is amazing, and because their soy-free burgers are made with an organic cast of bulgar wheat, mushrooms, veggies, and walnuts.
- Beyond Meat Burger. This one is Mo's favorite, she crushes them. They are crispy on the outside and taste just like meat for a real burger fix. She's not a vegetarian but reduces her red meat during TTC.
*Jorge E. Chavarro, Thomas L. Toth, Sonita M. Sadio, and Russ Hauser, “Soy food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic”, Human Reproduction. 2008 November; 23(11): 2584–2590.)
(No conflicts of interest stated in the above source)