Benefits of soy

There is no denying that soy has many health benefits, which are coming from the quality of soy proteins and health promoting phytochemicals such as isoflavones, phytates, saponins and polyphenols.

Bone health

Soy products such as soy isoflavones may help to reduce the osteoporosis risk. Several studies have suggested that soy isoflavones may be a factor in helping to prevent bone loss.

The isoflavone genistein seems to inhibit bone breakdown and may have similar effects than estrogens in maintaining bone tissue. Replacing animal protein with soy protein may help to prevent calcium loss from the bones. Diets high in animal protein cause more calcium to be excreted in the urine.

Menopausal symptoms

Epidemiological data show that Asian women suffer less from hot flashes and night sweats than Western women. Most symptoms of menopause are caused by low estrogen levels. Estrogens play a role in the body temperature control. Soy isoflavones can through their estrogen-like effect control these menopausal symptoms, especially hot flushes.

Heart health

In countries with high soy intake the rates of cardiovascular diseases is relatively low. Research suggests that soy may help to prevent heart disease by reducing total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and preventing plaque buildup in the arteries, which could lead to stroke or heart attack. These health benefits are also mainly attributes to the soy isoflavones and saponins. The soy isoflavone genistein may increase the flexibility of blood vessels, whereas saponins may have potential to reduce blood cholesterol.

Cancer prevention

Several studies have indicated that a regular intake of soy foods may help to prevent hormone related cancers such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. A Chinese study found that high dietary intake of soy isoflavones was associated with lower risk of recurrence among postmenopausal women with estrogen and progesterone positive breast cancer and those receiving the anti-cancer drug anastrozole. The scientists suggest that the beneficial effects of soy isoflavones is exerted through their interaction with estrogen and progesterone receptors. Isoflavones have antiangiogenic activity, which means that they interfere with blood vessel growth, an important anticancer property.

High protein content

Soy products such as tofu, tempeh and soy milk are very rich in protein, which is of very high biological quality as it contains all essential amino acids. In addition, the amino acids of soy combine very well with those of cereals, such as wheat, rice and corn. The soy protein is especially important for vegans.