What are the health benefits of soy?
Soy is one of the healthiest foods on earth. A complete review of all the benefits could easily fill a large book. Soy's key benefits are related to its excellent protein content, its high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins and minerals, interesting phytochemicals such as isoflavones and saponins, and dietary fiber. The soybean contains a wealth of nutrients and phytochemicals, that are tied to an impressive array of medical benefits:
Decreases symptoms of menopause
The soy isoflavones products appear to decrease the symptoms of menopause, especially hot flushes
. More information about isoflavones and menopause
Reduces risk of certain cancers
Using soy products appears to decrease the risk of breast cancer. Soy products may also decrease the risk of colon and prostate cancer. The anti-cancer action of tempeh is attributed to the isoflavones. The isoflavones have antioxidant properties and help to prevent to oxidation of DNA. Isoflavones also seem to reduce the growth rate of cancer cells.
Rich in healthy soy protein
Soy products are excellent vegetable sources of protein. Most current health recommendations suggest limiting animal protein, so substituting soy for chicken, beef, or pork makes sense. Compared to all other beans, soybeans have the highest amount of protein. In fact, 38% of the soybean's edible weight is soy protein, with the rest coming from carbohydrate and fats. The soy protein contain all the essential amino acids!
Free from saturated fat
Soy products are free of the saturated fat implicated in many health problems. Soy is also cholesterol free.
Builds stronger bones
Isoflavones in soy appear to increase the bone mineral content of post-menopausal women, decreasing the possibility of osteoporosis. The soy isoflavones are responsible for the bone protection but also, the recplacement of animal protein with vegetable or soy protein improves bone health.
Soy products appear to lower total blood cholesterol and LDL levels at about the same rate as decreasing fat in the diet. Twenty-five grams of soy protein is thee recommended daily consumption by the FDA. The approved health claim states: 25 grams of soy protein daily, in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Many food products containing soy protein advertise this claim on the label.
Mild for kidney
People with reduced kidney function--such as those with diabetes who have nephropathy--can benefit by replacing animal protein with soy protein.