Soy-based foods, like tofu, edamame, soy milk, miso, and meat replacements, are gaining popularity. More people are adopting plant-based diets to improve their general health and well-being. When adopting a plant-based diet, few foods are as nutritionally advantageous as soy in their natural state. It comprises all nine necessary amino acids, which the body cannot generate and must obtain from food. For vegans, vegetarians, and veg-curious individuals, unprocessed soy provides a protein-rich alternative to meat and dairy. However, there is a great deal of contradictory information available that may cause you to doubt the health benefits of soy. Continue reading to learn how soy foods can improve your health.
1. Aids in Reducing Cholesterol Levels
Research shows that soy can help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good). Recent findings indicate that 25 grams of soy protein daily can significantly lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by approximately 3 per cent. Nonetheless, the researchers anticipate that declines may be greater when individuals consume soy instead of animal protein. Soy-rich diets can lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by 2–3%, according to a second study.
Additionally, they may increase HDL (good) cholesterol by 3 per cent and cut triglyceride levels by 4 per cent. Those with underlying heart disease risk factors, like high cholesterol, obesity, or type 2 diabetes, tend to be the ones who gain the most fromsoy foods.
2. Can Improve Heart Health
Diets high in legumes, particularly soy, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular illness. It seems that soy isoflavones can lower inflammation in blood vessels and increase their flexibility, two aspects thought to safeguard heart health. Soy-rich diets may lower risk of inducing stroke and reduce heart disease risk.
3. Can Reduce Blood Pressure
Soybeans and soy-based meals are often high in arginine, an amino acid known to aid with blood pressure regulation. Isoflavones, another chemical known to have blood-pressure-lowering properties, is abundant in soybeans. In one research, regular consumption of 1/2 cup (43 grams) of soy nuts lowered diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) by approximately 8 per cent in some, but not all, women.
Other publications associate daily consumption of 65–153 mg of soy isoflavones with blood pressure decreases of 3–6 mm Hg in individuals with hypertension. It is uncertain, nonetheless, whether these modest blood pressure-lowering advantages apply to individuals with normal or increased blood pressure. Some research implies that both may benefit, while others indicate that only those with hypertension will see this impact.
4. Can Reduce Blood Sugar
Menopausal women who take soy isoflavones may have a slight reduction in their blood sugar and insulin levels, according to an analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. Isoflavones from soy may also reduce insulin resistance, a disease in which cells cannot react appropriately to insulin. Insulin resistance can increase blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes over time.
There is some proof that soy protein supplements can assist persons with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome to reduce their blood sugar and insulin levels.
A metabolic syndrome is a group of problems involving excessive blood sugar, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and belly fat that seem to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
Nevertheless, these conclusions are not universal. Other experiments have been unable to show a substantial correlation between soy meals and blood sugar control in healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes. Thus, additional research is required before final decisions.
5. It Might Enhance Bone Health
During menopause, reduced estrogen levels may cause calcium loss from the bones. The subsequent bone loss may cause postmenopausal women to develop osteoporosis, characterized by fragile and brittle bones.
40–110 mg of soy isoflavones each day can decrease bone loss and enhance bone health markers in postmenopausal women, according to some data. It would be similar to consuming approximately 5–15.5 ounces (140–440 grams) of tofu or 1/3–1 cup (35–100 grams) of cooked soybeans daily.
6. Can minimize menopausal symptoms
Soy is full of what is known as Isoflavones. Such is also known as phytoestrogens or plant estrogens. They can easily connect to estrogen receptors within the body, which are abundant in soy.
During menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels decline naturally, causing uncomfortable symptoms such as lethargy, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes.
By attaching to estrogen receptors in the body, it is assumed that soy isoflavones can help mitigate the severity of these symptoms. Soy isoflavones, for example, may lower the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, according to a study.
Soy isoflavones can reduce menopausal symptoms. These symptoms include; fatigue, joint pain, sadness, irritability, anxiety, and vaginal dryness.
Soy products have numerous health benefits. Consuming whole soy meals can reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers, as well as fibroids and inflammation. Soy benefits bone health, cardiovascular health, and menopausal symptoms. Like most other plant-based foods, the least processed soy foods are the healthiest.
Young soybeans, sometimes referred to as edamame, can be steamed and consumed directly from their pods. In addition to soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and miso, soybeans are also utilized to produce soy meats and cheeses.