Soy – A Complete Food
There are many imaginary terms (with no legal or authoritative definition) in food sciences like super foods, smart foods, natural foods, health foods etc.,
One such term is “Complete Protein Foods”. Soy comes under this category.
Soy is a bean/legume found in Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Australia; the largest producers being USA, followed by Brazil, Argentina, China and India.
Soy bean is rich in protein content. It also contains many phyto-nutrients which play significant role in preventing diseases.
Fiber in grains like soy can keep the body healthy.
Soy is used in the form of soy bean protein and soy bean oil. (2 Major forms of soy consumed by most of the countries in the world)
Soy Seed: About 40% of the seed contains protein and 20% oil content.
Important functions of bio-molecules in Soy:
Omega 3 fatty acids (Alpha linolenic acid)
– They are considered good for cardio-vascular health.
Isoflavones (Genistein and Daidzein – Phyto-estrogens)
– Genistein acts as an oxidant and stimulates nitrate synthesis to block the formation of new blood vessels.
– Prevent extra cell growth and avoids tumors.
– Acts as an anti-oxidant and chelating agent.
The healthy benefits of Soy will definitely make you wonder about it’s magical phyto-nutrients !!!
Magical because they can prevent/cure many diseases.
1. Prevent heart diseases
What are responsible for heart diseases ???
High Blood Pressure, blockage of arteries by LDL cholesterol, execess fat in blood, low HDL cholesterol levels.
Already discussed about cardio-vascular diseases in the post – Cholesterol – Friend or Foe.
Soy can regulate blood pressure, control LDL and fat concentrations in blood and increase HDL.
Soy does a lot of “Good-work” in human body !!!
2. Prevent Cancers
Anti-oxidants present in soy prevent cancerous cell growth.
Prostate, breast and colo-rectal cancers are the known ones which can be prevented by consuming soy regularly.
Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Soy prevent fat absorption in intestines ==> So no extra fat
Also, soy has high fiber which can prevent diabetes and obesity.
Say Good Bye to Obesity by taking soy foods regularly !!!
Isoflavones in soy promote bone health. Also, soy has less amount of sulpur-containing amino acids.
Lower the sulpur-containing amino acid content, higher the Calcium re-absorption from urine !!!
Higher Calcium levels ==> No osteoporosis
Also, the phytoestrogens in soy can help accelerate calcium absorption by the body and prevent the loss of bone mass.
In this case, more Calcium and Vitamin ‘D’ enriched foods should be taken along with soy.
Soy milk contains about half the sugars present in dairy milk.
Lesser the sugar –> Lesser the chances of Diabetes
Soy Milk – Better than Dairy Milk
Soy fiber can improve insulin sensitivity. Soy helps in absorbing the sugars into the body at a slower pace.
This can release glucose into blood slowly. Can prevent/ drastically reduce diabetes !!!
6. Eye Health
There is an isoflavone called Genistein in soy which protects eyes from cataract formation. These isoflavones also act as radio-protectants to treat tumors and cancers.
7. Improves Lipid Profile
Mono and Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids prevent the transport of LDL and triglycerides into blood & improves HDL Levels in body.
Low LDL and High HDL (Old Cholesterol Story) can help the body to keep diseases away.
8. Regulates Blood Pressure Levels
Omega-3 Fatty Acids protect blood vessels from hemorrhages due to their phyto-antioxidant content.
They fatty acids improve the flexibility of blood vessels such that blood pressure can be regulated.
Soy Snacks – Rich sources of fiber and phyto-estrogens
9. Menopausal health – Estrogen
Estrogen levels reduce to extreme levels during menopause. This can cause depression and other psychological disorders in women,
Estrogens in soy can help during these conditions.
Soy not only keeps the estrogen level high in human body, but also provides extra immune power against cancer and heart diseases.
10. Renal Health
Lowering LDL in blood can help the kidneys and prevent damage.
Wastes and toxins in blood are sent to kidneys for filtration. If this blood contains more LDL cholesterol, there are more chances of kidney damage than the case where blood has less LDL.
As per the laboratory studies, protein losses in the urine are more in the case of animal protein than plant protein. As soy comes under plant protein, it can preserve kidney functioning in renal patients.
Phyto-estrogens help in proper kidney functioning.
11. Alternative protein source for (Dairy) Milk
Though milk obtained from dairy is considered functional and good source of nutraceuticals; dairy milk contains lactose. Many people and infants are lactose intolerant. Soy can provide complete protein to them.
Can you name any other food which can prevent diseases like heart-attack, diabetes, obesity, cancers, osteoporosis and regulate blood sugar, pressure, cholesterol, kidneys, eyes and bones ???
Complete Foods like Soy are very rare in nature !!!
More about Soy Foods – Estrogen-rich soy-cookies; Soy Milk, Soy Meals in future posts. Bye.
3. Protective effects of Dietary Phytoestrogens in Chronic Renal Disease” in the Journal of Renal Nutrition, Vol 11, No 4 (October) 2001: pp 183-193.
Others: Biochemistry Book – Harper and Biochemistry by Lubert Stryer
PUBLISHED: March 31, 2013. By FSB
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