Benefits of Soy – How Good It Is For Us!
We often hear about many health benefits of soy. Soy bean has been recognized as low-saturated-fat, high-fiber and highly bio-available source of protein, it’s also an eco-friendly and eco-versatile plant easy to grow in a wide range of climates.
However, recently the positive relationship between soy and health has been challenged by the American Heart Association (AHA). While soy may not be a proven miracle cure for heart disease or cancer, it is certainly a nutritious food that can contribute significantly to good health.
The potential good benefits of soy:
It has been claimed that soy reduced heart risks. Soy milk is capable of lowering cholesterol in the body thus helping to reduce heart risks. A wholesome soy diet is known to curb the bad cholesterol and triglycerides that are the root causes of heart ailments in human beings. It also contains soluble fibre that helps in increasing the metabolism against combating cholesterol.
It also is said that soy is good for helping strong bones. Soy is known to comprise enough amounts of calcium required for the body, to help keep your bones strong. Women especially need this extra intake of calcium through the use of soy to prevent osteoporosis that may occur in later stages of their life.
It is good for menopause. In a woman’s life, menopause can be the most challenging health condition. In order to prevent the symptoms related to menopause, a healthy soy diet comes in very handy in helping to reduce symptoms such as hot flashes completely.
It also has been claimed that soy is good for cancer prevention. Soy has been known to be helpful in the prevention of prostate cancer prevalent in men. Some studies have revealed that it can also be beneficial in the prevention of breast cancer.
“Soy protein modestly lowers cholesterol, soy foods are great sources of high-quality protein while low in saturated fat. And soy is a good source of fiber, which further reduces cholesterol,” says Mark Messina, PhD, director of Nutrition Matters, Inc., and one of the world’s leading experts on soy and health. “New data suggest soy may also lower blood pressure and mitigate other risk factors for heart disease.”
Soy foods also are good choices for people with diabetes because of their low glycemic index. Most exciting, however, is research showing that as little as one serving of soy per day during childhood and/or adolescence may substantially reduce breast cancer risk later in life.
Now the other side of soy:
In 2007, the AHA petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke approval of labeling soy products as helping reduce risk of coronary heart disease. At issue were the results of prospective studies concluding the net effect of regularly including soy in the diet amounted to no more than a few percentage points reduction in cholesterol. (Curiously, other ingredients approved for similar health claims boast comparable levels of activity.)
But AHA contradicts its own advice: that for every percentage point we reduce dietary cholesterol we get double or greater the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk. Studies show soy protein lowers LDL-cholesterol 3 to 5 percent. This equates to around 10 percent reduction in heart-disease risk–definitely a number you can live with. Plus, you get displacement effects when soy is substituted for high-saturated fat foods.
Another recent aspersion against soy is that it causes breast enlargement in men. However, this was based on a single case of one man drinking nearly a gallon of soy milk daily.
Soy also has raised concerns of possible negative effects for some women, such as breast cancer patients.
“But,” adds Messina, “recently conducted epidemiologic studies suggest soy food intake after diagnosis either has no effect on, or actually improves prognosis.”
So there you have it. The way we see it, it’s the same as with everything else in life. If you like it have it but in moderation. We love soy beans, edamame is one of our favorite healthy snacks and it’s great as a side dish. We also love soy snacks and many foods in which you can find soy. But we don’t relay 100% on soy as our sole nutrition provider. As always, everything in moderation!