Soy beans are part of the legume family and are not just for vegetarians. They have an array of health benefits for all, including preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, some cancers, menopausal health, and weight issues.
Soy beans are high in plant-based proteins which contain all the same essential amino acids as those found in animal meat products. They are also high in fibre, protein, phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and lactose-free. They are also high in many vitamins (B6 & 12) and minerals (folate, magnesium, calcium, and potassium) – a complete food with many health benefits.
There have been many studies done in reference to soy products and their benefits on heart disease. It is believed that consumption of these products can lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, and improve artery walls and elasticity. Soy products also have an effect on helping to reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms. They can assist in bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density, and more importantly can slow down and prevent the progression of some breast and ovarian cancers.
The best sources of soy products, firstly, are soy beans, tofu, soy beverages (milk), tempeh, soy yoghurt, soy sauce, and soy bread. Many of these foods are commonly found in supermarkets now days and can be substituted for dairy and meat products in your everyday diet.
It is important to maintain a well-balanced diet, which can include some soy products (in place of animal protein products), which can help maintain a healthy body. Try something new next time you’re out, and start to incorporate some soy into your diet.