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Natural source of protein: Benefits of soy

A package of toasted soybeans, manufactured an...

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Soy (or Glycine max ) is a plant in the pea family. It has been used in Asian diets for thousands of years.
Soybean are good source of protein, oil and minerals, but low in carbohydrates. It also contains water-and fat-soluble vitamins.

Soy isoflavones

Soybeans also contain isoflavones-compounds similar to the female hormone estrogen.

The major portion of soy protein is composed of glycinin and etaconglycinin.
The health benefits of soy are in isoflavones which are a class of plant estrogen found in a high concentration in soy. In particular genistein occurs in soy products such as tofu, soy protein isolates, soy flour and some estrogen dietary supplements.
The reason that genistein has come under medical scrutiny is the fact that it activates estrogen receptors in cells, including some types of breast tumor cells.

Benefits of soy

Soy saponins are divided into three groups according to their respective type of aglycon, soyasapogenol A, B and E.

Saponin A and AB group fraction protects the liver against antioxidation and improved lipid metabolism in the injured liver.
Administration of a small peptide derived from soybean showed antifatigue, antiobesity and hypoglycaemic activity in mice.

Feeding soy protein to hamsters, consistently, resulted in significantly reduced incidence of gallstones.
Soy products (tofu, soybeans, miso, and soy protein powder) can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Substituting as little as 20 g per day of soy protein for animal protein can significantly lower cholesterol.

In studies of experimental carcinogenesis in animals, soybean isoflavones exhibited protective effect in 65% animals.
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FACTS ABOUT SOY BENEFITS:

  • Soy products (tofu, soybeans, miso, and soy protein powder) can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Soy foods can help lower blood pressure.
  • Italian researchers found a significant decrease in the average number of hot flushes experienced by postmenopausal women taking 60 g of soy protein isolate daily for 12 weeks.
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