Soy (Glycine max) is a member in the pea family. It is a sub-tropical plant, growing from 1-5 feet tall, forming clusters of 3-5 pods. Soy has been using as a dietary staple in Asia for over 5,000 years. There are various recipes made from soy like tofu, soy sauce, miso, tempeh. These are digestible forms of soy and allow you to enjoy this legume more.
However, there are different researches on effects of soy on health. This writing will help you have an overview of nutrient benefits and side effect of soy.
Effects Of Soy That You Should Know And Consider It When Consuming
I. Nutritional Fact Of Soy
According to recent researches in U.S.A, the scientists advice adults to increase the intake of fiber, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron in other foods, instead of consuming these nutrients in animal’s meats. Actually, soy is a wonderful alternative. However, this legume is overshadowed by other fruits and vegetables. Therefore, sometime we forget its benefits.
1. Soy Protein
Soy contains essential amino acids for sustaining health. Based on the PDCAAS (method to evaluate the correct usage of amino acids), digestible protein in soy reach 0.95 and 1.00 – the highest score.
2. Soy Oil
To compare with other cereals, grains and beans, soy or soybeans is richer fat. Of course, this is healthy fat and it does not harm cardiovascular function. For more details, there is nearly 50% of linoleic included in the soy oil. This is a polyunsaturated fat and an essential nutrient. Plus, soy oil also contains 8% alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega 3 fatty acids that works to lower the risk of high blood pressure.
3. Carbohydrates & Fiber
Insoluble and soluble carbohydrates and fiber make up 30% of soy. The primary sources of carbohydrates in soy are stachyose, sucrose and raffinose. These sugars might vary, depending on the gorwing conditions. In the part, they just made of 10% of soybean.
The stachyose and raffinose in soy are significant. They are not used as directly by the body, but they are digested by a kind of battery, which is called bifido.
4. Vitamins & Minerals
The major minerals of soy include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sulfur.
Although soy is not considered rich sources of vitamins, they still contribute to nutritional well-being, including riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, biotin, pantothenic acid, inositol, choline and folic.
The fat soluble vitamins in soy are vitamin E and vitamin A. Vitamin E supply you with tocopherols as antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is a pro-vitamin beta-carotene and it is higher in green soybeans than dry soybeans.
Isoflavones in soy includes daidzein, glycitein and genistein. Scientifically, genistein is found to prevent and treat some cancers. Isoflavones sometimes are refered to phytoestrogens because they have similar chemicals like estrogen. However, in fact, the effects of estrogenic in isoflavones are weaker than that of the natural hormone by 1000 times.
5. Soy Products
There are many products that are made from soy, including:
Soy milk: The main ingredient of this product is soybeans. Soy, sweetener and water make this milk become creamy with a distinct flavor.
Soy flour: Soybeans are milled and toasted to be flour. This product is used to make cakes like wheat flour.
Miso (or soy paste): This is a popular soup in Japanese, with great flavor. This recipe keeps high amounts of protein in soy.
Soybean sprouts: Soybean Sprouts are similar to alfalfa sprouts. These sprouts are used to create airy textures to some salads.
Soy burgers and hot dogs: For those who love grilled recipes, they can add into wieners and patties.
Tofu: It is considers the cheese of soybean milk, and it is a common meat substitute, used in Asia for centuries. Tofu has a mild and invisible flavor, but it is said that tofu can absorb the taste of other food ingredients.
Soy nuts: Like peanuts, soy nuts can be used as a snack, but this snack is much less fatty than peanuts. Soy nuts are also added in baked cakes and in salads.
Soybeans: This is a natural form of soy and it can be cooked like other beans.
Tempeh: This is a meat substitute. In Indonesia, tempeh is used as soy cakes.
Soy protein: this protein is used to make hot dogs, cold cuts, veggie burgers, sausages and nuggets. It is often sold frozen and hydrated and frozen.
II. Benefits Of Soy
1. Cardiovascular Benefits Of Soy
According a research on soy in USA, 1999, soy is a part of healthy diets. Using foods containing soy products can lower the risk of high cholesterol levels, increase vascular function, control blood pressure and reduce perimenopausal symptoms.
Soy protein is used to lower LDL cholesterol. Isoflavones in soy are antioxidant properties and they also work to protect LDL cholesterols from the ability of oxidation. Isoflavone genistein in soy is found to boost the flexibility of human’s blood vessels and prevent heart disease effectively.
2. Soy Helps Prevent Breast Cancer
For women, eating soybean products during their adulthood can help to prevent them from the risk of breast cancer. However, soy supplements in different forms of powders, pills are not recommended.
3. Soy Helps Prevent Prostate Cancer
Many studies on soy has shown that soy can help promote prostate function. With high levels of isoflavanones and effective antioxidants, soy can inhibit enzymes, which stimulate men’s prostate cell growth. The low rates of prostate cancer in Asian countries have been attributed to the soy consumption.
4. Soy Helps Promote Healthy Bones
Many statistical Studies have found that soybean can lower bone tissue problems and osteoporosis in human, especially postmenopausal women. The scientists explained that isoflavones in soy are like synthetic estrogens so it affects bone health to reduce bone loss effectively.
5. Soy Helps Promote Immune System
Soy is considered a natural detergent, called saponins. These cleaners can bind to cholesterol and prevent the absorption of cholesterol in your intestine. Beside a function as a cholesterol-lowering factor, saponins also ward off microbes; make them become great accessories to human’s immune system to protect you from many diseases.
6. Soy Assists In Diabetes And Prevent Kidney Diseases
Don’t you know Diabetics often have the high blood glucose because their cells do not recognize insulin. This hormone can help absorb glucose. According to scientists, diabetics who consume soy products can lower blood glucose than people who do not use soy products often. Beside, diabetes is also linked to kidney diseases, so consuming soy products is a double cure and remedy for both diabetes and kidney problems.
7. Using Soy For Menopausal Health
The positive effects of soy on improving reduce postmenopausal symptoms in women is a new research. Epidemiological data has shown that Asian women lowered night sweats and hot flashes better than Western women. Another studies also found that with a consumption of 60 grams of soy protein in daily meals, postmenopausal women can reduce hot flashes and improve overall health significantly.
8. Other Good Health Effects Of Soy
Other areas of study on health and soy have shown that soy can act COPD, neurodegenerative disease and periodontal disease. According to researchers, by eating whole-soy foods, you can build up an artery wall to stop the risk of colon cancer, lower endometriosis effects.
III. Negative Effects Of Soy
Beside benefits of consuming soy, you also consider the following warnings when adding soy products in family meals.
1. Soy Allergy
Many studies have shown that soy is like other foods causing some allergic reactions.
Concretely, soy allergies are very common in babies and kids with typical symptoms itching, flushed skin, tingling sensation around mouth, diarrhea, nausea, hives. If you or your kids get allergies with soy, avoid all soy products like soybean, soy milk, soy sprouts, tofu, miso, soy sauce, tamari or tempeh.
2. Soy And Children Health
Recent studies have shown some serious negatives of soy on infants. According to scientists, don’t consume soy product in childhood, just use it in adulthood because soy can cause the high risk of neurotoxicity and soy is also linked to attention disorder in children.
3. GM Soy Can Increase Miscarriages And Hormonal Disruption
There are various researches, which are carried out to reveal negative effects of soy on hormonal balance in women. Exactly, genetically modified soy is not good for reproductive system. You might be shocked with this study, so read it slowly.
According to a Brazilian study, conducted in 2009, the scientists carried out an experiment on female rat. They feed those rats GM soybean for a full 15 months. The findings of the experiment had shown significant changes in reproductive cycles and uterus of the rats, in comparison with rats fed no soy or fed organic soy.
According to Stanley Ewen, a doctor in this study, the rats eating GM soy increased the levels of progesterone 4, a component boosting the egg relief during ovulation cycle.
Many people among you have thought that this would increase the fertility. However, GM soy was found to increase the development of retrograde menstruation in women that contribute to infertility.
4. Effects Of Soy On Erectile Dysfunction
Beside recent studies on negative effects of soy on women, there are some researches on effects of soy on libodo and erectile dysfunction in men. Some drugs have their components that are found in genistein, daidzein, mimic estrogen in soy and these ingredients can cause alarming negative effects like gynecomastia (breast enlargement in men), decreased body hair growth, mood swings, decreased libido, and decreased sperm count.
I have shown you an overview of effects of soy on health, including the nutritional fact of soy, the benefits of using soy products and some remarkable researches on negative effects of soy.
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