A lot of debates have been made on whether soy and soy-based products are really beneficial for one’s health. Some studies show that soy is good for the heart, aids in weight loss, and helps lower the risk of certain cancers. On the other hand, some studies argue that soy is a cause for food allergies and actually raises the risk of breast cancer.
The latest study posted early this year by online journal Cancer ought to bring some good news to soy product consumers. The study concluded that “a higher dietary intake of isoflavone, was associated with reduced all-cause mortality.” Isoflavone is a compound found in plant legumes like soy.
But not all soy products are created equal. To assure soy consumers that the protein-rich alternative to meat and dairy products offers healthy benefits, an article in Huffpost tackling the soy controversy points out: “Here’s what you need to know: Not one scientific study refutes the fact that soy — in its pure forms, such as tempeh, tofu, or whole soybeans — is a healthy food that may actually help prevent cancer and other diseases.
“The controversy lies with soy isolate, proteins artificially extracted from the soybean. It’s nothing more than another refined, processed food that you should avoid (this includes soy baby formulas).”
The better soy products are the naturally processed ones, which is why naturally fermented soy products like tempeh, miso, shoyu, or natto are said to be loaded with nutrients and good for heart health. These food items are found in Asian cuisines.
Naturally processed means the soybeans used in the products were organically grown, not genetically modified (GMO), and contains no chemicals.
A more popular soy product is soymilk, which, as the article indicates, should have none or just a little of the artificial flavoring and refined sugars. For the lactose-intolerant, soymilk is a good alternative.
Here are the other benefits of making soymilk part of one’s daily nutrition:
Good for weight loss
Plain soy milk has 80 calories per cup which is the same as skim milk. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, contains high saturated fats and cholesterol. The monounsaturated fatty acid in soy milk helps restrain intestinal absorption of fat, which helps in weight loss. Drink soy milk as a snack or as substitute for a very light meal—it has fiber, which gives drinkers a fuller feeling.
Lowers risk of Postmenopausal syndromes
Women undergoing menopause are prone to mood swings, stress, depression and other psychological disorders. During this period, the natural production of estrogen drops to a minimum and can also cause a number of health risks such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. The phytoestrogen in soy is an effective estrogen replacement.
The phytoestrogen in soy is said to aid better calcium absorption by the body and prevent the loss of bone mass. To maximize this benefit, look for soy milk that has been fortified with extra calcium and vitamin D.
Prevents Prostate Cancer
Studies have shown that men who eat a soy-rich diet lower their risk of developing prostate hypertrophy or prostate cancer.
Soymilk contains phytoestrogen, a plant hormone that can prevent the production of testosterone in men. Decreased testosterone levels may cut the risk of prostate cancer.
One soy milk drink that meets the “good standard” is Vitasoy, a popular soy milk brand from Hong Kong that ‘s now available in the Philippines market courtesy of local distributor Universal Robina Corporation (URC).
The product is made from real, high-quality, and non-GMO soybeans. It also has soy protein, which is a rich source of all the essential amino acids needed for optimum nourishment. It’s cholesterol-free, lactose-free, and low in saturated fat. The product comes in Original, Chocolate and Coffee flavors in 330 ml bottles at Php26 SRP in supermarkets and at P30 SRP in convenience stores. It also comes in one-liter packs (Php80 SRP).