In order to provide a more complete, balanced and nutritious diet, Leket Israel’s nutrition department includes legumes and other plant-based sources of protein in the rescued food that Leket distributes to needy recipients. Legumes such as lentils, peas and soybeans are very popular in the Israeli culinary world and are a source of protein that is less harmful to the environment than animal-based protein sources.
In recent years, the benefits of soy consumption have been under debate. This past May, the Israeli Ministry of Health published an updated policy paper based on over 200 studies that verifies that consuming soy is safe for both men and women of all ages including infants, children and adolescents.
Here is a summary of the new findings about the benefits of soy:
- Soy-based infant formula is safe for babies. Breastmilk is the optimal food for nursing infants, but soy-based formulas can safely provide the nutritional needs of infants.
- There is no link between consumption of soy in childhood and adolescence and early-onset puberty. Consuming soy as a child may lead to a decreased risk of breast cancer later in life.
- There is no link between soy consumption and fertility problems in both men and women.
- Certain levels of soy, when consumed as a dietary supplement may reduce the frequency of menopause-related hot flashes and may increase bone density for those suffering from osteoporosis.
- According to the American Cancer Society, consumption of soy products like tofu may reduce the risk of breast, prostate, uterine and other cancers.
The Ministry of Health recommends consuming soy in natural or minimally processed forms such as tofu, edamame, sugar-free soy milk, dried soybeans and tempeh. Many soy milks and desserts have high levels of added sugar.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) emphasized the nutritional value of soy and other legumes by designating 2016 as “The Year of the Legume”. Leket Israel will continue to encourage consumption of nutritious, satiating and environmentally friendly legumes. For more information, the full position paper (in Hebrew) is on the website of the Ministry of Health.