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Health Benefits of Soy
Six Ways Soy Benefits Your Health
Soy, and most soy-based products, are nutritional powerhouses. Soybeans are the only plant food that has all of the essential amino acids our body requires, making it a complete protein. Soy foods do not have any cholesterol, and most are high in fiber. Soy also has many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical compounds (like isoflavones) that work together to create numerous health benefits. Research shows that a daily intake of at least 25 grams of soy protein and 30-50 milligrams of isoflavones can improve and safeguard your health. This is the equivalent of 1-2 servings of soy foods a day. Here is a list of soy's properties and how they can positively affect you.
Soy's protein and isoflavones lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol and decrease blood clotting (thrombosis), which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Soy's protein and isoflavones provide antioxidants, reduce artery clogging plaque, improve blood pressure and promote healthy blood vessels, which protects the body from free radical damage, boosts the immune system, and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease, and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Soy's soluble fiber protects the body from many digestive related cancers, such as colon and rectal cancer. While its isoflavones may protect the body from many hormone-related cancers, like breast, endometrial (uterine) and prostate cancer.
Soy's protein enhances the body's ability to retain and better absorb calcium in the bones. While its isoflavones slow bone loss and inhibit bone breakdown, which helps prevent osteoporosis.
Soy's isoflavones help the body regulate estrogen when this hormone is declining or fluctuating, which helps alleviate many menopausal and PMS symptoms.
Soy's protein and soluble fiber help regulate glucose levels and kidney filtration, which helps control diabetic conditions and kidney disease.
Soy, healing power of soy isoflavonoids
The Healing Power Of Soy's Isoflavones
By Monique N. Gilbert
Numerous reports indicate that, because soy is high in isoflavones, it can prevent illness and promote good health. Isoflavones are a class of phytochemicals, which are compounds found only in plants (phyto means plant). They are also a type of phytoestrogen, or plant hormone, that resembles human estrogen in chemical structure yet are weaker. By mimicking human estrogen at certain sites in the body, isoflavones provide many health benefits that help you to avoid disease.
Isoflavones are found in soybeans, chick peas and other legumes. However, soybeans are unique because they have the highest concentration of these powerful compounds. Soy contains many individual isoflavones, but the most beneficial are genistein and daidzein.
Isoflavones show tremendous potential to fight disease on several fronts. They have been shown to help prevent the buildup of arterial plaque, which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Isoflavones may help reduce breast cancer by blocking the cancer-causing effects of human estrogen. They may also prevent prostate cancer by hindering cell growth. Isoflavones can fight osteoporosis by stimulating bone formation and inhibiting bone resorption. They may even relieve some menopausal symptoms as well.
Soy isoflavones have antioxidant properties which protect the cardiovascular system from oxidation of LDL (the bad) cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol accumulates in the arteries as patches of fatty buildup which blocks the flow of blood, resulting in atherosclerosis. Genistein inhibits the growth of cells that form this artery clogging plaque. Arteries damaged by atherosclerosis usually form blood clots. This can lead to a heart attack if the clot goes to the heart, or a stroke if it goes to the brain.
Being a weak form of estrogen, isoflavones can compete at estrogen receptor sites, blocking the stronger version naturally produced by the body from exerting its full effect. Since high blood levels of estrogen are an established risk factor for breast cancer; weaker forms of estrogen may provide protection against this disease. Genistein has been found to hinder breast cancer as well as prostate cancer. Results from a new University of California study show that genistein slowed prostate cancer growth and caused prostate cancer cells to die. It acts against cancer cells in a way similar to many common cancer-treating drugs.
Isoflavones also play an important role in protecting and maintaining strong and healthy bones. Evidence shows that genistein and daidzein prevent bones from breaking down. Independent studies conducted at the University of Illinois and the University of Hong Kong concluded that consuming soy isoflavones can increase bone mineral content and bone density. Another study at the University of Texas suggested that isoflavones may also stimulate bone formation. By preserving bone health, increasing bone mas...