Soy is definitely one of the most controversial foods in the world. Thousands of studies have been made. Many findings are inconclusive and some suggesting negative effects especially among babies. However, a great number of studies support the soy, especially for postmenstrual women. Let me highlight some of the health benefits.
Millions of people die every year from heart-related conditions, more than half of the cases are from heart attacks. Soy protein intake of 25 grams each day can reduce the risk of heart problems.
Isoflavones found in soy are antioxidants responsible for this positive effect. Studies show that these powerful antioxidants may improve the condition of blood vessels, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. Moreover, they may inhibit the negative effects of LDL cholesterol, known as bad cholesterol, making it harmless to arteries.
Soybeans and diabetes
Heart diseases are one of the major complications of diabetes. People with such conditions should pay particular attention to the positive effects of soy protein intake.
This is because the soybean protein can help by maintaining optimum levels of glucose and insulin, which are very important for diabetics.
Anticancer properties of soy
Soybeans contain anti-cancer phytochemicals. The isoflavones, which are polyphenol compounds containing genistein and daidzein. Studies suggest that these compounds have anti-cancer properties.
Soy protein also contains a phytoestrogen, which tends to reduce the risk and spread of prostate cancer.
Soy and Menopause
These wonderful isoflavones contained in soy, have recently been successfully used to combat bone loss after menopause.
There have been several studies measuring bone density among American and Chinese women (women who take many soybeans). These studies show that Chinese women have one-third less likely to break a bone. What is even more interesting is that one study showed that the effects of isoflavones are similar to that of standard hormone therapy, which is known to reduce the risk of fracture.
These benefits could be applied for those of you who are worried about the side effects of hormone therapy. Some of these side effects are nausea, bloating, greater risk of heart disease, stroke, bad mood and many others.
Besides the fact that healthy levels of protein make your hair look good, it is shown that soy isoflavones help against thinning hair during menopause. Hair loss during menopause may occur as a result of the reduced amount of progesterone caused by the cessation of ovulation.
Soy isoflavones provide the estrogenic effect, without the risk of the use of synthetic hormonal therapies and thus slows down the thinning of the hair.
Isoflavones found in soy relieve hot flushes too. Scientists have observed that women in Asian countries where soy is a major part of their diet are less likely to experience hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause than women in other parts of the world.
Soy protein is simply better!
Soy is considered a complete protein from many agencies including the US FDA (US Food). A complete protein contains a significant amount of essential amino acids that we can obtain only through food because we cannot synthesise them. For this reason, soy is considered a good source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
But soy is not just for vegetarians, it is a good substitute for animal protein as animal proteins contain a lot of fat, especially saturated. In addition, soy is more conducive to your digestive system. Between 30 and 50 million Americans have lactose intolerance and around 5% in the UK. People with this condition have consumed dairy products may experience the following symptoms: stomach pain and bloating gas and diarrhoea. Although the yoghurt contains beneficial bacteria for the stomach, it can be very harsh on the stomach.
Soy contains nutritionally valuable carbohydrates called fructooligosaccharides which help the beneficial bacteria in the stomach, without the irritation of lactose. For this reason, soy is an ideal replacement for dairy products.
The reasons why soy is beneficial for women’s health are many. It improves heart health, reducing the risk of cancer, increases bone strength and relieves many of the symptoms of menopause. Soy protein contains less fat, no cholesterol and ten times more fibre than animal protein. It is also a light meal, making it a great alternative to animal protein and dairy products. Overall it seems that soy is great.