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Power of Soy

Jul 6, 2011

Soy a food that is known to many in the health field as being a super food has become more “super” with recent research. Some of the benefits of soy include promoting heart health and healthy bones, preventing cancer and alleviating menopausal symptoms. Soy beans by themselves contain high amounts of protein, including all essential amino acids that our body needs. Soy beans are also a rich source of calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and fiber. Since this food has many positive affects, it is not surprising how much it has been researched over the last decade or so. We have listed some of the benefits of soy and the studies that will prove just how SUPER this food is and how important it is to add to your diet.

Soy and Heart Disease

The cholesterol lowering effect of soy milk and its role of heart disease was widely recognized in the mid 90s when the results of a meta-analysis of 38 clinical studies were published. The results demonstrated that a diet with significant soy protein reduces Total Cholesterol, LDL cholesterol (the "Bad" cholesterol) and Triglycerides. Soy protein appears to lower triglyceride levels while preserving HDL cholesterol. Researchers Erdman & Potter in 1993 reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition a 12 percent drop in cholesterol when 20 to 25 grams of soy protein and fiber were included in the diet. Soy beans contain soluble fiber, which is known to interfere with the absorption and metabolism of cholesterol. As a result of these findings, in 1999, FDA authorized a health claim about the relationship between soy protein and Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) on labeling of foods containing soy protein.

A few recent studies released in 2005 found that soy only had a modest effect on cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association no longer recommends soy for heart disease. FDA is currently reviewing its policy on soy health claim. So what should you do? Enjoy your soy foods like before. It may not lower cholesterol to an extent we originally thought, but it certainly does not harm our health!

Soy and Healthy Bones

Many soy foods are naturally high in calcium (some fortified with calcium because it is a good source of a particular coagulating agent). In addition, soy also contains magnesium and boron, which are important co-factors of calcium for bone health. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in September 2005 also found that intake of soy food was associated with a significantly lower risk of fracture, particularly among early post-menopausal women.

The Bottom Line

Although it is still inconclusive that soy can prevent any diseases, many studies have shown promising results. Include soy products such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, breakfast cereal etc in your diet and enjoy the possible health benefits they may bring. With increasing public concerns regarding genetically modified foods, look for soy products which use non-genetically modified soy crops in their production. So what can you learn from this?? Add soy to your diet to not only prevention but also as well to give your body difference sources of many of the micronutrients/macronutrients that your body needs daily.

A lot of this information was found on HealthCastle.com

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