Healthy Benefits of Soy

 

Why Soy?

When it comes to good nutrition soy offers a wealth of health. It’s a terrific source of complete protein. It’s low in fat, cholesterol-free, and provides bone-healthy minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Soy is naturally low in calories, so it fits perfectly into your body-conscious, healthy lifestyle.
 

Super Foods

A Super Food is a term used to describe food with high phytonutrients, which have been discovered to be helpful in preventing numerous diseases. These nutrient dense Super Foods are found in a variety of plant foods including tomatoes, spinach, kale, citrus fruits, berries, peppers, carrots, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, and yes... the mighty soybean!
 

Heart Health

Soy scored a coveted health claim approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999. Just 25 grams of soy protein per day is recognized as beneficial to heart health. Plus, with no cholesterol and no saturated fat, incorporating more soy protein into your diet is a simple change!
 

Diabetes

Regularly eating soy appears to reduce the risk of diabetes, especially in people who are overweight.  Soy offers complete protein, but without the saturated fat and cholesterol that many people with diabetes want to avoid. The carbohydrates in soy are complex, meaning they break down slowly in the body, limiting their impact on blood sugar.

People with diabetes are at increased risk of heart and kidney disease, and soy scores big points in these areas too. Soy can lower levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, a boon for heart health. Soy lowers the amount of protein in the urine. Less protein in the urine means less kidney damage, which is a common complication of diabetes.
 

Healthy Weight

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, so it’s no surprise that weight concerns top the list of health issues we care about. Soy deserves a place at your table if you’re interested in maintaining a healthy body weight.  Soy provides many of the nutrients our bodies need to best manage body weight and appetite, including calcium, selenium, protein, and fiber. In short, soy is a low-fat, low-calorie, high-protein diet powerhouse.

Bone Health

Researchers studying the traditional diets of Japan and China first noticed the soy-bone health connection. Despite eating relatively little calcium, people in these traditionally “soy-eating” countries have very healthy bones.  In fact, they rarely suffer from osteoporosis – excessive thinning of the bones that affects many women, and some men, in the United States.  Soy is the best source of plant nutrients called isoflavones. Along with protein and other vitamins and minerals, isoflavones may combat bone loss as we age.
 

Lactose Intolerance

That rumbling in your belly after your morning latte may be more than hunger. For the 30 to 50 million American adults with lactose intolerance, dairy is a one-way ticket to digestive distress.

Soy is a perfect substitute for those who need to limit lactose. Soy milk can be substituted for cow’s milk on a one-to-one basis. And most soymilk is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. You don’t need to worry about what you might be missing when you make the switch to soy.

Looking for lactose, dairy-free substitutes for cooking and baking?

  • To replace milk, blend silken tofu with water until it has the consistency of milk
     
  • Firm or extra firm tofu is ideal for replacing cottage, ricotta, or mascarpone cheeses in lasagna or desserts.
     
  • Soft or silken tofu is terrific blended into soups and smoothies, adding protein and a thicker texture.
     
  • Tip: When using soy to replace cream, cheese, or meat, use herbs and spices liberally. Soy will take-up, or absorb, the flavors of whatever you are making. Without spices and herbs, soy can be very bland.
     

Women’s Health

Many people mistakenly believe that soy isn’t safe for women concerned about breast cancer. Yet study after study suggests soy likely reduces risk of breast cancer. Soy food may even reduce the risk of recurrence in women with a history of breast cancer.

For postmenopausal women concerned about osteoporosis – excessive thinning of the bones – soy can be a valuable dietary addition.  Soy is the best source of isoflavones, plant nutrients that may combat bone loss as we age.

Best of all? Soy promotes heart health. Many women assume heart disease is a “man problem.” Unfortunately, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US. But adding just 25 grams of soy protein into your daily diet can promote heart health and may reduce risk of heart disease.
 

Men’s Health

Soy is well recognized as a prostate-friendly food. Dozens of studies point to soy as protective against prostate cancer, and may even provide benefit to men with prostate cancer.

Soy is also important for heart health.  Soy is high in protein, contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, and provides heart healthy nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and isoflavones. Isoflavones are recognized for their heart-health and cholesterol lowering benefits.
 

Children’s Health

Soy foods can be a great addition to your children’s’ diet. Tofu can be substituted into many recipes that your kids love, from macaroni and cheese to lasagna, fruit smoothies, pudding, and more.

And don’t forget dessert! Most kids clamor for dessert and soy can make these sweet treats healthier.

References:

  • Pipe EA, Gobert CP, Capes SE, Darlington GA, Lampe JW, Duncan AM. Soy protein reduces serum LDL cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B:apolipoprotein A-I ratios in adults with type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2009;139:1700-06.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Federal Register 64 FR 57699 October 26, 1999 - Food Labeling: Health Claims; Soy Protein and Coronary Heart Disease; Final Rule. Accessed January 28, 2010. Available:http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/LabelClaims/HealthClaimsMeetin...
  • Azadbakht L, Esmaillzadeh A. Soy-protein consumption and kidney-related biomarkers among type 2 diabetics: a crossover, randomized clinical trial.J Ren Nutr. 2009;19:479-86.
  • Nanri A, Mizoue T, Takahashi Y, Kirii K, Inoue M, Noda M, Tsugane S. Soy Product and Isoflavone Intakes Are Associated with a Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Overweight Japanese Women. J Nutr. 2010 Jan 6. [Epublished Early Release].
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  • Liu ZM, Ho SC, Chen YM, Ho YP. A mild favorable effect of soy protein with isoflavones on body composition-a 6-month double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial among Chinese postmenopausal women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Nov 17. [Epublished Early Release].
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  • Koh WP, Wu AH, Wang R, Ang LW, Heng D, Yuan JM, Yu MC. Gender-specific associations between soy and risk of hip fracture in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;170:901-9.
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  • Koh WP, Wu AH, Wang R, Ang LW, Heng D, Yuan JM, Yu MC. Gender-specific associations between soy and risk of hip fracture in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2009;170:901-9.
  • Pipe EA, Gobert CP, Capes SE, Darlington GA, Lampe JW, Duncan AM. Soy protein reduces serum LDL cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B:apolipoprotein A-I ratios in adults with type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2009;139:1700-06.
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  • Hwang YW, Kim SY, Jee SH, Kim YN, Nam CM. Soy food consumption and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61:598-606.
  • Kwan W, Duncan G, Van Patten C, Liu M, Lim J. A phase II trial of a soy beverage for subjects without clinical disease with rising prostate-specific antigen after radical radiation for prostate cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62:198-207.
  • Pipe EA, Gobert CP, Capes SE, Darlington GA, Lampe JW, Duncan AM. Soy protein reduces serum LDL cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol:HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B:apolipoprotein A-I ratios in adults with type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2009;139:1700-06.
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Federal Register 64 FR 57699 October 26, 1999 - Food Labeling: Health Claims; Soy Protein and Coronary Heart Disease; Final Rule. Accessed January 28, 2010. Available:http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/LabelClaims/HealthClaimsMeetin...
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Conditions and Behaviors that Increase Osteoporosis Risk. Accessed January 28, 2010. Available:http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Conditions_Behavi...
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